Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Daily Express publishes wrong migration statistics - and hopes you don't notice

This morning I saw this story on the Daily Express website about "Four million migrants have entered the UK in the past 20 years". These numbers don't refer to the total number who have come to Britain on holiday, but instead 'net migration'.

Some background. Net migration counts the numbers of people coming into the UK - and the numbers of people leaving for abroad - for 12 months or more.

I quickly pointed out to Giles Sheldrick, who wrote the piece, that the net migration figures he was using included a large chunk of foreign students, British students on a gap year and British citizens who lived abroad for a year or more who decided to return home. In other words, many of the 4m migrants we were to be worried about were either British citizens coming home or foreign students earning a degree before returning to their countries.

He first denied I was right -

Curiously, his piece says nothing about the students -- and does not account for, erm, 700,000 of the 4m he says are in Britain.
After reminding him that, no, he definitely has his facts wrong on how net migration is counted, two things happened:
First, he deleted his tweet so that no one might see his error - and then he did this:
Sadly, this seems yet another case of inflating numbers in an effort to scare more than inform -- all ahead of a crucial, tightly contested referendum battle.  But I suppose "never let the facts get in the way of a story"....

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