26 May 2008

UK Immigration Stats exposed using duff data

Under the file usually marked "What were they thinking" comes this one.

A UK parliamentary select committee was convened to look at various complaints from local government authorities about the number of newly minted immigrants using resources in the UK regions. The central government of "New" Labour led by the dour Gordon Brown steadfastly refused to admit that the UK had an immigration problem stemming from the expansion of the EU in 2004 onwards.

Turns out those overstretched local authorities were actually right.

So it comes from the way in which estimates are calculated at the Central Government level. So guess what they are using to estimate population?

Well its that good old report that indicates SO WELL (NOT) the true travel patterns of people the IPS - International Passenger Survey. The latter by the way still hasn't figured out that over 50 million Europeans user Ryanair and that countless others (it would appear) use other low cost carriers to get into the UK.

The select committee was not amused!

Existing methods of estimating migration and population figures are not "fit for purpose" say MPs. The International Passenger Survey, designed to provide data for tourism, now plays a central role in migration estimates, the committee of MPs said.
They said it was "not fit for this purpose" and methods of measuring movement in the UK "unsatisfactory".

The committee said new surveys were needed. The Lib Dems said ministers had "totally lost track" of the population. (Understatement of the year!) And of course given the influx of people coming in on LCCs they are not even counting tourism properly.

In its Counting the Population report, the Commons Treasury Committee accepted that the UK was in a period of "significant population change" which made it harder to estimate numbers of people in each area. But it said population estimates were "central to every national system of official statistics", used to estimate funding for local government, the NHS and other public services. Getting them right was therefore "a matter of social responsibility" the report said.

For many years I have held the position that the IPS does not reflect true travel patterns and is a flawed metric. I am glad someone else thinks so!



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