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Today’s migration figures show why Cameron should drop his ‘tens of thousands’ target

22 May 2014

22 May 2014

The inconveniently-timed net migration figures are out this morning, and they’re not good for the Prime Minister’s pledge to get immigration into the ‘tens of thousands’ by the general election. The Office for National Statistics estimates that net long-term migration to the UK was 212,000 in 2013. This is a rise—one the ONS says is ‘not a statistically significant increase’—from 177,000 the previous year. But what is ‘significant’ is the increase in the number of EU migrants – 201,000 EU citizens came to the UK in 2013, up from 158,000 the previous year.

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The figures released today show 214,000 people came to the UK for work in 2013, which is a statistically significant increase from 158,000 the previous year. As for those leaving the UK, 314,000 people left the UK, compared to 321,000 the previous year.

The net migration figures may not be a ‘statistically significant increase’, but they’re also not a drop. And this is a problem for David Cameron, who made a point of saying his pledge was ‘achievable’ while carefully avoiding saying whether the Conservatives would definitely meet it.

But it doesn’t need to be a problem, or at least as much of an internal party management problem as it could have been. These inconveniently-timed figures could have caused a ruckus in a grumpier Conservative party – and some troublemakers may well use them in the next few weeks if they do fancy picking a fight. But as I reported earlier this week, mainstream eurosceptic MPs have offered the Prime Minister cover by suggesting that he should drop the migration target and use its failure as a way of arguing for fundamental reform in the European Union. Today’s figures showing a ‘significant’ rise in EU citizens coming to Britain do help that argument: the government cannot control a significant element of its net migration target. Based on the Prime Minister’s previous form, though, it will be a suggestion that falls on rather deaf ears for a while at least.


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  • Jackthesmilingblack

    As of 2011, some 86 Sharia courts were quietly operating in Britain. These courts discriminate against women in matters of inheritance, and that`s just for starters. So how did this happen? Britisher pals, you were never consulted and certainly never voted for Islamic multiculturalism. However, you did elect Labour governments, not once, not twice, but three times. It`s enough to make a person emigrate. And the Tories aren`t much better; too gutless to say “enough is enough” and stare those accusations of racism. Huge and sudden increases in the wrong type of immigrant, and I think we all know who the dodgy ones are. Bottom line, Labour caused the problem and the Tories can`t or won`t rectify it, so who ya going to call? Not exactly “Ghost Busters”. Nigel`s fun-loving boys from UKIP are the front-runners to clean the stables. You know it makes sense. As of now, no resident abroad Brit national in their right senses is going to quit that hardship posting and retire back in UK. You guys just weren`t minding the shop, now were you.
    Jack, Japan Alps

    • George Smiley

      Conflating UKIP with the BNP, the NF, the BPP, Britain First, the EDL, &c. = Lib/Lab/Con dirty-tricks smear tactics!

      Mohammedans, Mohammedanism and multiculturalism are these days largely a Labour sideshow; que Phil Woolas. Most Mohammedans do not come to England and Britain to compete for the SAME jobs as the English, the Welsh and the Scottish working classes in the same ways that our friends from Poland and Romania do. Worrying about radical Muslim terrorist suspects is one of the ways that the Lib/Lab/Con establishment uses to keep the eyes of the British public away from the ball—i.e., the terrorism inflicted by the London metropolitan élite upon the British lower-middle and working classes, in the form of active and direct race-replacement—a Slavic (and pseudo-Slavic) reverse Lebensraum in England against the English.

      Whites against whites; one of the ways of divide, conquer and rule.

  • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

    Most of our immigration comes from outside the EU.

    • George Smiley

      That is, if you speak to Yvette Cooper!

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    The really significant datum would be non-Brits as a percentage of the population. How long before there are more of them than there are of you?
    That should keep the racist bigots happy. Pull the ladder up …
    Jack, the Japan Alps Brit

    • George Smiley

      You are supposedly British, yet you obviously hate down to the last drop of your bile anyone else and everyone who is ever remotely British—you don’t even use the term “English”—how does that work; or are you just suffering from severe schizophrenia?!

  • Bob339

    Did no one notice? Blair, Brown Cameron = BBC! This is God telling us who we have to get rid of!!!!!

  • itdoesntaddup

    Today’s figures show just how much more disastrous the numbers would have been with 70,000 more bogus students.

    What they do not show is any breakdown of the historical underestimates covered by a figleaf of under-reported net migration. All we are told is:

    There is evidence that shows the IPS missed a substantial amount
    of immigration of EU8 citizens that occurred between 2004 and 2008,
    prior to IPS improvements from 2009.

    The IPS has underestimated the migration of children.

    So no wonder there is a shortage of primary school places.

  • Denis_Cooper

    In the opinion poll mentioned here last March:

    http://www.conservativehome.com/thetorydiary/2013/03/there-is-no-left-and-right-expect-in-political-imagination.html

    respondents were asked the question:

    “What should be the maximum allowed level of annual immigration?”

    and offered options ranging from zero to “No limit”.

    The median response in that survey was about 70,000 a year, that is to say
    half of the respondents thought gross immigration of 70,000 a year would be too
    high while the other half thought it would be too low.

    On the chart there’s an outlier of 6% saying “No limit”; unfortunately those
    in control are among that 6% and they do their best to ignore the wishes of the
    great majority of the citizens.

    Of course this all refers to GROSS immigration not NET immigration.

  • Slavic Girl

    Why you did not show the non EU migration since 2004? Any particular reason? No?

    • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

      …because they don’t like us getting upset about brown people, especially from racist, dangerous, backward countries that want to kill us and not fit in. They try to divert the message: if they HAVE to report immigration let it be twisted, omitting the most important facts and in line with their agenda (BBC, MSM, Government)

  • an ex-tory voter

    I am so looking forward to meeting the Conservative candidates at the Polling Station this evening!

    • Fergus Pickering

      Why? Are you going to punch his lights out? Good scheme.

  • XH558

    Stage (1) Drop immigration target in return for fundamental reform of EU.
    Stage (2) Drop fundamental reform in return for realistically possible targets.
    Stage (3) Drop realistically possible targets in return for acceptable tinkering.
    Stage (4) Achieve nothing.
    Stage (5) Well we are the only Party that tried to achieve reform, we deserve credit for that.
    Just home from voting UKIP. Democracy never felt so good.

  • ohforheavensake

    Given that the government can’t control how many people leave the country, it has no way of controlling the overall net total.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …well, you socialists have historically found ways to keep people from leaving the country, so give you lot a bit more time and you’ll have that fixed up, no doubt.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Ms H, you must be paying by the word because you r article could be simply written as; Dave should drop his immigration target because he has no control over it’ You mention that point but why not just repeat that a few score times.

    • Denis_Cooper

      She could be made to write it out fifty times in her best handwriting and have it on the editor’s desk by tomorrow morning, without fail.

  • colliemum

    ‘Net migration’ should be dropped in any case because we don’t even know how many of those leaving are Brits who’ve had enough.

    One other point lacking in this post by Ms Hardman is an acknowledgement that UKIP was not scare-mongering because of racism. But then, post-election, I suppose the hack pack thinks this is all yesterday’s news and best forgotten.
    Well, we won’t forget nor forgive. The performance of the ‘impartial’ press is a scandal of such proportions that there will be repercussions.
    Wiggling about because of the ONS numbers out now is no longer going to work.

    • ohforheavensake

      Well, given that there’s ample evidence that immigration helps the economy, I’d say Ukip are scare-mongering.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …and given you’re throwing out platitudes, you’re not providing anything at all.

        • Wessex Man

          you’ve got to make allowances for the sompleminded as above.

      • Fergus Pickering

        How does it help? Explain yourself. How do foreign gypsies help the economy. How do foreign criminals help the economy? How do foreign layabouts help the economy?

      • theGoldenOne

        I’m a descendant of immigrants & I disagree with you.

        Immigration is a net positive for the economy only if said immigrants are the right sort. If the toss is between Asians (Chinese, Hindus, Sikhs) & Muslims, I doubt a lot of people would choose the latter.

  • Smithersjones2013

    So now we know what all the hysterical screaming about ‘racism’ is really all about not only are the Tories going to fail to meet their commitment but that the rate of net immigration is as bad as under Labour and Cameron is well on course to welcoming in over 1 million additional migrants net (well over 2 million in total) into the country IN JUST 5 YEARS. Of course Cameron has the perfect out. Sack the utterly useless Theresa May (you just can’t get the same quality of woman as you once did in the political parties these days). Whether he will or not given his puerile brand of political crassness is anyone’s guess

    Given the electorate’s attitude to immigration there is no upside for Cameron. The parliamentary party are staying loyal purely because they have no choice Disunity will further damage the parties dismal prospects. If the choice is clinging on to their seat or getting rid of Cameron they will cling on to their seat in the knowledge that chances are the electorate will take care of Cameron in 2015.

    PS Oh and the other consideration that has yet to be got at is just how many immigrants are being granted citizenship. I believe the UK grants more citizenships than just about any other EU nation…

    • Reconstruct

      What’s the point of sacking Mrs May? Surely you recognize that whilst we remain under the EU institutions, it’s their rules which take precedence over our poor spavined ‘local’ politicians.

      Good job we’re a democracy, eh?

  • realfish

    While the net figures may not be statistically significant, Cameron’s has started to get to grips with non-EU immigration, which has now fallen sharply from the ‘there is now upper limit’ Labour years. But the consequence of that does make the increase in EU immigration statistically significant.
    Cameron was daft to pledge something that he had no control over. But in fairness to him, our EU membership has dictated the our immigration policies for us. Not even Nigel could change that overnight nor would he be able to in the short term, even if he was in the position to do so.
    The BBC and the north London liberal elite have been trying to mislead the British people and build a firewall around the debate and numbers for years. We are in the midst of a mass movement of people heading in our direction. This will only increase in its speed as Britain’s economy outpaces the rest of Europe. It has to stop.

    • Mynydd

      For non-EU immigration Mr Cameron uses the Point system introduced by the last Labour government

      • Wessex Man

        so it was OK for Labour to Let in millions more from Eurpope because Labour used a points system that didn’t work, you sad person!

  • swatnan

    As predicted, you or anyone else cannot ‘control’ immigration: its a natural process like osmosis. The govt is being a Canute in thinking it can stop the tide from coming in. It can’t; and neither could UKIP.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      That is a ridiculous claim.

      • swatnan

        The facts and figures speak for themselves.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Indeed they do. Annual net migration rose from under 50,000 in 1997 to nearly 150,000 in 1998 and to a peak of just under 250,000 in 2004.

          3.2 million immigrants arrived under New Labour, 80% of them from outside the EU. The rate of immigration quadrupled.

          That was not accidental or coincidence. It was orchestrated.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          The facts and figures speak about open-borders zealots like you.

        • Wessex Man

          erm, UKip aren’t in power until 2015.

    • Alexsandr

      sort the borders, exit the EU.

    • Grey Wolf

      Mass immigration was non-existent until the late 90s. It’s relatively new when immigrants from 3rd world dysfunctional hell-holes have come to our shores. The whole situation can be reversed. Let the ”hard working” 3rd-worlders go back to their own lands and ”work hard” there.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Yes it can. Just don’t let them in.

    • George Smiley

      Is the REAL reason that you wrote what you wrote was really because you are in fact from India yourself, don’t you, Swatantra alias Swatnan?! A little bit too self-serving, don’t you think?!

      Until your beloved native home Country that is India alias Hindustan suddenly prepares to permanently accept within 2 years 2 million non-Hindu and non-Muslim Mongolian, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, Thai and Burmese immigrants with a right to eventual naturalisation and full Indian citizenship, your self-serving position would never be anything but sheer hypocrisy.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Anyone Mad Jonathan MacDonald of Rochdale disagrees with he instantly labels an “evil foreigner”. So stamp his file “INCURABLE”, there`s simply no alternative. Some ten years spouting the same illogical xenophobic racist lies; disagreeing for the sake of being disagreeable, objecting for the sake of being objectionable. If Social Services don`t get him then surely the Criminal Justice System will. Still, at least that`s the retirement issue sorted. Don`t make any holiday plans, Jock.
        Jack, the Japan Alps Brit
        And now a word from the resident looney.

        • George Smiley

          A Japanese East Asian Oriental sticking up for an Indian South Asian on the common anti-British far left agenda; i.e., two chippy foreigners with very big anti-British axes to grind. Hardly the revelation of the century.

  • you_kid

    So whilst EU migation is increasing net migration is falling. What does that mean? Pakistanis are replaced by Poles? Brits moving to Bulgaria (in Spain they are leaving to the tune of 90,000 per annum)? Is anyone any wiser now?

    • Alexsandr

      there are lies, dammed lies and government statistics.

    • HookesLaw

      Net migration remains unchanged from last year as far as I can see. ie for the hard of hearing, its not gone up.

      In terms of who comes in – 220,000 are students who make our universities money. The govt have slashed the numbers of bogus students.
      156,000 are work related of which some 90,000 are classed as skilled. And in this figure are 40,000 from Australia USA Canada and New Zealand.
      The number of EU workers is 125,000. A significant number of other workers from the EU are British citizens returning, some 60,000 according to the BBC.

      So what is the real number that people are getting worked up over? What is the number that is so inimical to the health and wellbeing of our society?

      • Colonel Mustard

        People can see for themselves. They see the way their towns have changed so rapidly. Even I’ve noticed the increased number of young East Europeans pushing charity bags through my door each day. It’s a rare day I don’t get one, sometimes two or three.

      • southerner

        So was your hero right to claim a reduction to tens of thousands was achievable?

      • Wessex Man

        ah Hooky babe makes late arrival thinking up ways to spin this one out and fails as usual!

      • Denis_Cooper

        If the present numbers are no cause for concern, why did your party leader pledge to cut the numbers down to tens of thousands?

        Is it because he’s an habitual liar and cheat who has no scruples
        about promising something just to get votes and without the
        slightest intention of actually doing it?

        By the way, you still haven’t answered my question from yesterday; first quoting from your own post:

        “The amendment made legal the ability of the Eurozone countries to create an inter-governemntal treaty under european law.”

        My response:

        “So you admit that before that amendment of the EU treaties came into force the eurozone bailouts were illegal.

        Now explain why Osborne agreed to go along with something that was illegal, rather than upholding the rule of law as he is required to do as a minister.”

    • somewhereinthesouth

      Many more would like to but they can’t sell their Spanish homes.

      • Wessex Man

        I know it’s disgusting isn’t it but the Spanish would be really upset because the drop in spending would result in even Spaniards out of work, cant have it all ways can we!

    • Wessex Man

      well you arn’t.

  • Blindsideflanker

    Remember how the BBC crowed about Romanian and Bulgarian immigration had fallen , now there are more robust figures that show the opposite the BBC has already dropped them from the headlines.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Kindly note the second graph shows “net migration”. Is this immigration minus emigration? What happened to gross population turnover? Because as the number of immigrants increases, so too will the volume of disgruntled Brits flying the coop. Which means that before long the UK population will be largely made up of risk-averse losers and the immigrants. So better start being nice to the immigrants Britisher pals, you might be working for them before you`re much older.
    Jack, the Japan Alps Brit

    • George Smiley

      And does that supposed to also include you, a Japanese living in Japan but like to call yourself British instead?!

      Stop your trolling! It has got absolutely, positively nowt to do with you anyway, so what is your game exactly?!

  • saffrin

    Well that’s me done. I can expect the nazis around any minute with the eviction notice.
    Secret ballot my ar e

  • Mike Barnes

    Maybe he could just change it to a “5 year rolling target” to reduce net migration like George Osborne did to the deficit.

    That fooled the media easily enough.

  • Reconstruct

    Given that we do not have any say about the numbers arriving from the EU, and given that Mr Cameron must have known this when he made his silly ‘tens of thousands’ soundbite, what can we conclude from his making it?

    1. He’s a liar.
    2. He takes us for fools.

    Why does he do this? Why must he rub our noses in the contempt in which he holds us? His credibility problem is not too difficult to locate or treat: stop treating us like idiots.

    • somewhereinthesouth

      May be he thought the recession would be so bad here Europeans wouldn’t want to come anymore? Or maybe thought they could get the Commonwealth figures down enough so we would nt notice. Wither way he was wrong.

      • ButcombeMan

        One solution is to leave the Single Market and trade simply, both ways under WTO rules for mature economies.

  • Blindsideflanker

    Net immigration was a slight of hand, applauded by the metropolitan chatterati , now that slight of hand has proven to be too difficult for them to fulfil the chatterati want that dropped.

    Well Isabel, if a slight of hand was beyond their capabilities, what policy do you intend to replace it with? No immigration policy, more establishment neglect of the policy area? With immigration already a potent issue, do you really think that is sustainable?

    • colliemum

      The policy that lot will adopt is the one we’ve seen in the last few weeks: call anybody who criticises the numbers and immigration policies a racist.
      /sarc

    • somewhereinthesouth

      Don’t forget that Labour cyclically calculated correctly , when deciding not to impose transitional controls on new EU states , that most immigrants vote labour. Worked for a while….. Now their traditional supporters see their jobs , school places, Council housing going to newcomers plus the neighbourhood changing or worse maybe down the swanny and they are reacting… their votes are going to UKIP.. The law of unforeseen consequences is still in operation..Expect to see some action when the problem reaches Hampstead , Battersea, Highgate, Limehouse , Wapping and Chiswick

  • Aberrant_Apostrophe

    Cameron was extremely foolish making that rash promise, since he has absolutely no control over the UK’s borders – even foreign criminals seem to be able to wander in with zero checks. If fact, it was doubly foolish because all the signs were there years ago that the Southern EZ states would start to go into recession, leading to floods of younger workers moving north. And then of course, there’s Eastern Europe…

    As for his obsession with NETT migration, he must think we are stupid to not realise that even with zero nett migration, it will eventually lead to the complete replacement of the indigenous people. Still, as long as his Big Business buddies get their cheap labour, who cares about their ethnicity?

  • Colonel Mustard

    Unsustainable. But as in Hong Kong some will get very, very rich on the cheap labour and exploited accommodation cost. Everywhere a British government gets involved the locale is destroyed by its own pragmatism and failure to protect what it has. Everyone wants a piece of it and the stupid politicians let them come. So that eventually what they wanted a piece of is absolutely destroyed by population density, over subscribed public services, high living costs, choked roads. And the result is a widening gap between rich and poor and a terrible quality of life.

    The open frontier it isn’t. But a small island with limited resources and a creaking infrastructure. Madness beckons and those stupid f***ers in Westminster are entirely responsible.

  • ButcombeMan

    I have supported the Tories for 55 years,

    I will vote UKIP today.

    That is almost exclusively Cameron’s doing.

    • Colonel Mustard

      + 1

      • Hello

        I just want to say. To all of you. That’s, like, such a touching story. Oh my god — I better go before I start bawling!

        • Wessex Man

          Do you promise to go, really promise and do you promise to stay away so that we no longer have to read your inane drivel!

        • Colonel Mustard

          Is it? I thought it was just a simple statement of disillusionment and intention.

          • Hello

            When did it become so fashionable to be “disillusioned”?

            “Young people are so disillusioned these days, don’t you know?”

            “Oh, darling! I’m so disillusioned today!”

            Disillusioned by what exactly? Were you high the rest of your life? What is it that has triggered this bout of disillusionment for you? Have you seen the doctor about it?

            • Colonel Mustard

              Disillusioned by a PM who promised but failed to deliver, as in:-

              Disillusioned – adjective: “disappointed in someone or something that one discovers to be less good than one had believed.”

              The word has been in use for at least 200 years so hardly “fashionable”. The hyperbole is all yours not mine. The responsibility is David “We’ll sweep it all away” (but didn’t) Cameron.

              I don’t need to see a doctor because I know what the cause is and what the solution is, unlike, it seems, the Tory party.

            • Wessex Man

              but you’ve really upset me now! you said you were leaving five hours ago for pete’s sake!

        • Hexhamgeezer

          Why don’t you change your nom de merde to something more appropriate like ‘Strawman’ or ‘Madame Nebulous’.

          Or Goodbyee

          • Hello

            You wit, you! You bloody great wit!

            • Hexhamgeezer

              Sorry mate, there’s no more room on the T shirt after cramming in closet racist fruitcake, bigot, nutjob loony
              tune etc etc….

              • Hello

                I’m afraid I’ve never called you or any Ukipper any of those things, and nor would I.

        • Slavic Girl

          Yup, those guys are seating all day long, reading UKiP stories and vote up their clever vote UKiP comments. How patriotic!

          • Colonel Mustard

            Well, it’s better than subverting politics in someone else’s country…

            • Slavic Girl

              Probably. So who is subverting the politics in this country?

              • Wessex Man

                oh dear.

              • Colonel Mustard

                You tell me. I have no idea who was really behind the “Romanian protest” in Croydon.

          • Ricky Strong

            I sit here all day, usually about 10 hours on average reading for my Graduate Diploma in law. I just so happen to comment on here because – pink flowers aside – the level of conversation and debate is rather good.

            It just so happens many here share similar views regarding traditional conservatism and UKIP. Perhaps you could find it in your heart to forgive myself and others for having an opinion and expressing it freely.

      • Bob339

        +2

    • Ricky Strong

      15 years for me.

      Above all else I feel betrayed by the party. They honestly make me feel unwelcome, not only in their party but in my own country.

      I too put both my crosses next to the pound sign.

    • an ex-tory voter

      45 years, stopped the moment Cameron became leader.
      Did not trust him then and with hindsight I was absolutely right to withold my vote. I shall continue to do so until the Conservative Party returns to it’s roots and removes Cameron as leader.

      • Hello

        Oh, I imagine you’d continue to do so even if it did.

        • an ex-tory voter

          You will be unsurprised to learn that what you imagine is of marginally less interest to me than David Cameron’s promise to renegotiate our relationship with the EU, or to control immigration.

  • keith

    So make a promise (even when people said it wasn’t possible) and drop it and make the reason for dropping it another impossible promise, that you will halt the free movement of people throughout Europe, even when you know that you will never get it. Isabel your priceless in your advice

  • greyling

    ONS: “526,000 people immigrated to the UK in the year ending December 2013” Forget all that “NET” immigration nonsense. “314,000 people emigrated from the UK in the year ending December 2013” Probably educated, probably solvent, unlikely to be people with criminal convictions probably sick of falling standards of living, corruption and crime. “214,000 immigrated for work in the year ending December 2013” So what did the rest come for? The sunshine? Wake up Britons.

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