Councils plead for accurate migrant figures
Local authorities will lose out on millions of pounds of funding for housing and other services unless the government rethinks the ‘flawed' way it works out migration levels.
This warning comes from the leaders of Slough, Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham councils. They have written to the Treasury protesting that the government's new method of calculating migrant numbers severely underestimates reality.
They warn that if the methodology is applied to their three-year grant settlements from next year, they will struggle to meet their growing populations' needs.
The four leaders labelled ‘perverse' the suggestion that just 60,000 migrants have been dispersed from London to other parts of the country.
Hammersmith & Fulham's leader Stephen Greenhalgh said National Insurance contributions data for his borough indicated a 563 per cent increase in eastern European workers since 2004.
‘We've put a huge amount of money into housing, but this will have an impact on our ability [to continue to do so],' he said.
Immigration minister Liam Byrne the system for calculating migrants had been devised by the Office for National Statistics, which is independent of government. An ONS spokesman said its new method was part of a wider programme of statistical improvements. ‘The entire work programme will continue to be discussed with users and experts,' he said.