population, migration, and growth. The website of Gaia Watch of the UK


This page was started in September 2005.
It is intended for news items in any media (radio, newspapers, etc.). Items will be progressively removed to the Archive pag

24th April 2012.
James Lovelock of Gaia climate regulation fame has apparently modified his views

Lovelock, the author of the Gaia hypothesis that states the whole earth including its molten core and of course, the atmosphere around it, is a living organism that self–regulates the climate control system (see our detailed review of one of his books on the Book Reviews page of our web site). In 2009 he warned that the manifold effects of the growing human population on the climate was pushing the control system to its limit. Negative feed–back loops that are essential for the Gaia control mechanism were becoming positive feed–back loops, and in the near future it was almost certain that the Gaia system would switch fairly suddenly to a much hotter system causing most of mankind to be killed (Lovelock. “A final warning. The vanishing face of Gaia”. Penguin).

But climate has not changed quite as some models predicted, and now, Lovelock, according to the Climate Policy Network and other sources has apparently admitted that he had been an alarmist when he wrote this 2009 book, and is curretly writing a new book in which he will say climate change is still happening, but not as quickly as he once feared.

Lovelock has now said: “The climate is doing its usual tricks. There's nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now” and “The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time? it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising – carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that.”

World News,
Climate Depot
Daily Mail

29th March 2012.
“National Population Projections, 2010-based reference volume: Series PP2”.

From the Introduction we read the key results (emphasis is ours):

  • “The population of the UK is projected to increase by 4.9 million over the next 10 years from 62.3 million at mid–2010 to 67.2 million at mid–2020, an annual average rate of growth of 0.8 per cent. It is projected that the UK population will be 73.2 million at mid–2035, a total increase of 10.9 million over the next 25 years.
  • “The projected total population of the UK in 2035 is about 924,000 (1.3 per cent) higher than in the 2008–based projections. This is due to an increase in the assumed number of births and net migration.
  • “Some 47 per cent of the projected 10.9 million increase in the population between 2010 and 2035 is directly attributable to the assumed level of net inward migration. The remaining 53 per cent is attributable to projected natural change (an excess of births over deaths) of which 32 per cent would occur with zero net migration. The remaining 21 per cent arises from the effect of net migration on natural change. It is estimated therefore, that some 68 per cent of projected population growth in the period to 2035 is attributable, directly or indirectly, to net migration.

Read the full summary:

27th March 2012.
Probably over 40,000 students who entered the UK illegally remain.

The National Audit Office (AO) has issues its report on immigration by The Points Based System – Student Route.

“The UK Border Agency implemented its new student visa system without key controls in place. The flaws in the system were both predictable and avoidable.

“The Agency regards students who do not comply with their visa conditions as a low priority compared with illegal immigrants and failed asylum seekers, and is slow to take action to deal with such students. Action planned by the Agency to ensure that those with no right to remain in the UK are identified and required to leave must now be pursued more vigorously.

“Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, 27 March 2012.”
AO from which the full report may be accessed.

Here is the first part of the Press Release:

“The National Audit Office has today issued a report on the 2009 implementation of a points based route, known as Tier 4, by which students from countries outside the European Economic Area can study in the UK. The report has found that the UK Border Agency implemented Tier 4 with flaws which were predictable and could have been avoided. The Agency has not dealt efficiently and effectively with overstayers and students in breach of the rules.

“Under the previous system of student immigration for non–EEA students, replaced by Tier 4, there was no limit to the number of students whom a college could enrol and students were free to move college and course as they wished without notifying the Agency. Under Tier 4, each student must be sponsored by educational institutions licensed by the Agency and cannot change college without applying to the Agency. Sponsoring colleges are responsible for judging students' intentions to study.

“The Agency implemented Tier 4 before the key controls were in place. Based on college enrolment rates and changes in application patterns, the NAO estimates that, in its first year of operation, between 40,000 and 50,000 individuals may have entered the UK via Tier 4 to work rather than to study. The Agency did not check that those who entered the UK as students were attending college.

“The Agency has taken little action to prevent and detect students overstaying or working in breach of their visa conditions because the Agency regards them as low priority compared to illegal immigrants and failed asylum seekers. The Agency has removed 2,700 students since 1 April 2009 but has been slow to withdraw students? leave to remain in the UK, where it has cause to do so. This has meant that, in many cases, enforcement teams have been unable to arrest students found working and not attending college.

“The Agency currently does little to ensure that people leave the UK when their visa extension requests have been refused. Action to check that those refused visa extensions leave as required is patchy. The NAO employed a specialist contractor to try and locate 812 people the Agency was looking for. At a cost of £3,000, in one week the contractor found addresses for a quarter of the Tier 4 cases supplied, which the Agency is in the process of checking.

“The Agency introduced new controls in 2011 and a fully–documented compliance strategy in December 2011 that are likely to reduce the number of problem students. But it will not be possible to determine the value for money of the Points Based System for students, unless the Agency establishes ways to measure its success in tackling abuse, including how it deals with overstaying, and to establish the full cost of its Tier 4 related activities.”


23rd February 2012.
UK. Latest Migration Statistics.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has released its latest migration report. In terms of the amount of immigration, the report should be viewed in relation to the government's pledge to cut annual net migration (gross immigration minus gross emigration) from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands by 2015.

So far, as some predicted, there is little sign of government success. For in the year to June 2011 net migration was 250,000, not far below the peak figure of recent years!

Here are the first three 'Key Points' of the report.

  • “Estimated total long–term immigration to the UK in the year to June 2011 was 593,000. This compares to 582,000 in the year to June 2010 and has remained at a similar level since 2004
  • “Estimated total long–term emigration from the UK in the year to June 2011 was 343,000. This is similar to 347,000 in the year to June 2010 and a decrease of 32,000 from the year ending June 2008
  • “Net migration was 250,000 in the year to June 2011. Since the year to June 2010 when net migration was 235,000, it has peaked at 255,000 in the year to September 2010 and remained steady since”

In terms of citizenship the report says:

  • “British citizens. Long–term international migration estimates by citizenship show that in the year to June 2011 the estimated number of British citizens immigrating long–term to the UK was 88,000. In the year to June 2010 there were 96,000 British citizens immigrating. The estimated number of British citizens emigrating long–term from the UK in the year to June 2011 was 143,000 an increase of 12 per cent on the estimate of 128,000 in the year to June 2010.
  • “Non–British citizens. The estimated number of non–British citizens immigrating long–term to the UK in the year to June 2011 was 505,000, not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 487,000 in the year to June 2010. The estimated number of non–British citizens emigrating long–term from the UK was 200,000, not a statistically significant difference from the estimate of 219,000 in the year to June 2010.”

“This shows that there is a big difference between British and non–British citizens, in migration flows. While there is a large annual negative net migration of British citizens (far more leaving than coming in) of minus 55,000, with non–British citizens there is a far larger positive net migration (more people coming in than going out) of 305,000.

“General trends in recent years have been similar, that is net emigration of British and net immigration of non–British. This means that a major gradual transformation of the UK population is underway.

Immigration of New Commonwealth citizens.
“Immigration of citizens from New Commonwealth countries is now at its highest recorded level of 170,000. Provisional International Passenger Survey estimates (IPS) suggest that two thirds of these citizens arrived to the UK for study, which was nearly half (46 per cent) of all those travelling to the UK for study. Further detail by individual country is not available for provisional data, however final estimates for 2010 show that 75 per cent of arrivals from New Commonwealth countries were from the Indian Subcontinent.”

Migration Statistics Quarterly Report February 2012.
“Migrations figures remain steady.”

15th February 2012.
“A life free from hunger.”

The charity Save the Children has produced a very distressing report about the global scale of malnutrition of children. This was based upon a survey carried out in five countries – India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria and Peru.

Here are a few of the 'vital statistics' from the report.

“One in four of the world's children are stunted. In developing countries this figure is as high as one in three. That means their body and brain has failed to develop properly because of malnutrition.”

“Malnutrition is an underlying cause of the death of 2.6 million children each year – one–third of the global total of children’s deaths.

“In the poorest countries, the poorest children are two times more likely to be chronically malnourished than their richest counterparts.

“48% of children in India are stunted.

“Seven countries are projected to see an increase in numbers of stunted children by 2015. Nigeria is projected to have 1.6 million additional stunted children and by 2020 Tanzania is projected to have 450,000 extra stunted children.”

Save the Children
See also
“500m children at risk of effects of malnutrition.”

8th to 12th February 2012.
Religious public rights are again in the news in both the USA and the UK.

Catholic opposition to contraception, worldwide, has played a significant part in limiting support for contraception, and hence had an adverse effect on attempts to reduce human population growth; and periodically this issue surfaces in the media. At the same time, there has been a lot of discussion over the years as to what extent the religious sphere should be separated from the public sphere. Now both these issues have surfaced again in the media, the first in the USA, the second in the UK.

First. In the USA.

The catholic church may decree something, but it does not necessarily follow that the flock will agree. And a new survey illustrates this point.

“Survey: Majority of Catholics support including birth control in health care plans.”

However, a newly published survey by the Public Religion Research Institute shows that roughly 58% of Catholics in the USA think that employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that include contraception.

This issue of contraception was brought into the limelight once more by the Obama administration with a 2010 bill, strengthened in january this year by a court ruling that has the effect that most healthcare providers must provide contraception coverage in their health care plans. 'Most', because religious organisations are exempted. But even here, if catholics health care providers provide for non–catholics as well as catholics they must provide contraception coverage for non–catholics who they provide for (as for example in catholic hospitals). This decision has outraged the catholic hierarchy, with catholic bishops calling the new law an attack on their religious freedom.

To return to the survey. This found, for different Christian groups, the following figures for percentage of people who think employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception.
Catholic: 58%.
White mainline protestants: 50%.
White evangelicals: 38%.
Furthermore 98% of Catholic women who have been sexually active have used birth control.

Detroit Free Press

Second. In the UK.

An event in one small town in one corner of the UK has started a blaze of comment in newspapers and elsewhere.The place: Bideford in Devon. The event: A former member of the Town Council, Clive Bone, took legal action against the tradition of Bideford Town Council to open council meetings with prayers. Bone won his case: Mr. Justice Ouseley, while rejecting the view that the practice of prayers was against Mr. Bone's human rights or was in effect discrimination, nevertheless concluded that there was no 'lawful' place for prayer during formal proceedings.

Now this decision must be seen in the light of the context of the idea of the separation of religion from the public sphere that we discuss in our article “The Muhammad cartoons controversy – the context” (accessed from the Analysis section of the Comment and Analysis page of this web site). There we note:
“In the history of the development of European institutions, two basic separations have developed:

  • The separation of religion from politics.
  • The separation of the public and private spheres.

“These separations may sometimes but not always, be formalized in law. For example, in France, there is a formal separation of churches from the state, making secularism a national principle. The state is barred from officially recognizing or funding religious groups, and there is a principle of non–interference of the government in the religious sphere. In contrast, in Great Britain, the Church of England and the Church of Scotland are 'established', formally recognized. The monarch promises to maintain the rights of the established churches. However, in practice, the church does not interfere with the working of the state although churchmen may influence it, for example through their representatives in the House of Lords. In practice Great Britain is a secular society, although this is now being challenged by the Muslim population. But in both France and Great Britain, everyone has the right of religious freedom.”

We mention in our article an analysis of Salvatore:
“ Salvatore (2004) writes at length about these separations and how the situation is changing in Europe during recent and continuing expansion of Muslim communities there.

He notes:

“…in relation to the history of the European formulas for the separation of religion and politics, and private and public spheres. The intersection of these two codes of separation that were essential to the formation of nation–states is in the administrative delimitation of a religious field and its subjection to state monitoring. In this context, religion is the 'moral engine' of the private sphere, and religious personnel become the 'moral prefects of the nation'. It is presupposed that religious authorities accept the boundaries between public and private spheres. At the same time religion has had a limited place in the public space through a range of Church 'community' activities.”

However, today, the activities of Muslims in Europe is seen by some as enlarging the position of religion in the public sphere beyond the traditional limits. Thus Salvatore writes of Muslim “vocal activism, particularly that of Muslim women and youth, as instances of a struggle to transform and enrich, and even to decentre, European public spheres”.

So we see how this little series of actions in one small corner of the UK has great significance for the organisation of the UK nation.

To turn to the reaction to the courts decision. There has been a strong objection to the ruling from some senior churchmen and some MPs. Lord Carey, the former Archbishop in the Church of England attacked the ruling, saying “There are deep forces at work in Western society, hollowing out the values of Christianity and driving them to the margins. Judges say the law has no obligation to the Christian faith but I say 'rubbish' to that”.

The government's Communities and Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles also objected strongly to the court ruling. Noting that Christianity has played an important part in shaping our heritage, he considered the judgment undermined the fundamental and hard–faught British liberty to worship and claimed that Public authorities should have the right to pray before meetings.

On the other hand, as the Guardian notes, if some councils claim the right to say Christian prayers, so in areas dominated by Muslims, such as the Tower Hamlets, the same right must be given to Islam.

Eric Pickles however, has a card up his sleeve that he thinks will stymie the court ruling. A new act, called the Localism Act is due to come into effect very soon and this stresses the “power of competence of councils to determine their own procedures”. And the speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow considers 'parliamentary privilege' will prevent the court ruling from stopping daily MPs prayers in parliament.

Here are links to some newspaper articles.

“Right to pray: Christian heritage is part of our national identity.”
“Fighting for the right to pray.”
“Government tells councils to carry on praying despite High Court ban.”
“Defiant Speaker vows there will be no prayer ban in the Commons.”
Daily Mail
“A Christian call to arms by Lord Carey.”
““Why the Bideford ruling on council prayers is a setback for secularism.”

8th and 11th February 2012.
The UK government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), has now set up the Natural Capital Committee.

“The Natural Environment White Paper, the Natural Choice: Securing the Value of Nature, announced the creation of the Natural Capital Committee. This Committee will report to the Economic Affairs Committee (chaired by the Chancellor of the Exchequer) and aims to provide independent expert advice on the state of English natural capital.

“The Natural Capital Committee is designed to ensure that Government has a better informed understanding of the value of Natural Capital, and will help it to prioritise actions to support and improve the UK's natural assets. By reporting into the EA Committee and the Chancellor, this Committee has the opportunity to truly influence the economic policy of the UK for the good of the natural environment.

Now this is a very important step. The reason is this. Economists, in drawing up national accounts have traditionally used growth in GDP (Gross Domestic Product) not just as a measure of economic success, but also of national well being. In calculating GDP, they have tended to ignored the harmful effects of economic growth instead of fully incorporating these effects into their accounts. So when a person buys some industrially produced goods, the prices ignore the costs incurred to the environment in the production of the goods, for example damage to ecosystems, atmospheric pollution and displacement of local communities to make way for developments.

Clearly then obtaining an accurate knowledge of the value of natural environment services will facilitate any possible attempt to make economic accounting more realistic and promote conservation.

In addition, growth of GDP has been associated in the past with, and partly made possible by, human population growth (the more people, the more consumption, the greater the damage to the environment). This cannot go on for ever since the planet is of finite size. Taking seriously environmental damage and abandoning the god of growth in GDP, are necessary steps to achieve sustainable development.

See also the Telegraph article of 11th February “Britain calls on the world to put a price on nature.”

8th and 9th February 2012.
“Development Policy and the Challenge of Growth.”

9th February. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) today published a dispatch with the above title. It stated that UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin said in a speech at an international conference on development policy and population, “The paramount challenge of this century is to meet the needs of 7 billion human beings now – and the billions to come – while protecting the intricate balance of nature that sustains life”.

A day earlier the UNFPA issued a statement that gave the text of the director's speech.

In this speech, the director described the demographic situation across the world, and pointed out there was a large variation betteen different regions and countries. This meant that there was “a wide variety of social and economic challenges”.

He distinguished between three common scenarios:

First, countries like sub–Saharan Africa where population growth was high and incomes were high. Here women were not able to control there own fertility, and economic growth and the supply of health services and education were being out-stripped by high population growth.

Second, middle income countries where populations had stabilized, but the proceeses of urbanization and migration impacted on trends in labour, patterns of consumption and family structure.

Third, countries where fertility had fallen to below replacement level, creating the problem of future labour and productivity shortages that had the potential to damage the quality of life of the “ageing generations”. This group of countries included many European countries, Japan and South Korea.

Three of the particular problems the Director spoke about were fertility decline, population ageing and urbanisation:

“Based on the UN Population Division's most recent projections, the world's population will reach its peak early in the next century, at around 10 billion.” “However, small changes in our assumptions can have large consequences.” “On the whole, girls' education, women's empowerment, and better women's and children's health, including modern family planning and reproductive health, have dropped fertility to about half of what it was 40 years ago.” “If the same trend continues, fertility will go down by another 23 per cent in the next 40 years. But for each percentage point that we fall short of that 23 percent reduction, the world population at the end of the century will be almost 750 million larger.”

“The populations of many countries, including those of European countries, but also of many developing countries, are getting older. China, in particular, will face enormous challenges with a share of elderly persons that will rise from 14 to 34 per cent during the next 40 years.”

“As for urbanisation, the Director pointed out that “In 1950, about two thirds of the world population was living in rural areas, and this is still the case in the poorest countries. However, within the next 40 years about 2/3 of the world population will be urban. For example, the urban population of Asia will almost double and Africa's will almost triple.”

The director went on to say that while “urbanization in developing countries is often associated with social, economic and environmental challenges,…it can also be an important driver of sustainable development. In urban areas people tend to consume less energy than in rural areas. In urban areas, governments can deliver essential infrastructure and services more efficiently.”

Turning later to what needs to be done to deal with the global population problems, the director stated that three actions were critical:

“First, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health care; meet unmet need for family planning; and empower women to independently decide the number, timing and spacing of their children.

“Second, invest adequately in young people – their health, education and job opportunities – and especially ensure that girls are not left behind in these efforts.

“These targeted investments, combined with reproductive health, will reduce infant, child and maternal mortality, slow population growth and help people break out of poverty.”

“Third, use population data and projections to plan for rural, urban and national development and to pro–actively address emerging economic, social and environmental challenges.”

UNFPA. Statement

2nd February 2012.
“Abortion, Population Control Advocates Lose Battle in Rio.”

Prior to the very important United Nations conference on Sustainable Development that will be held in June in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a three day conference of representatives of member states, United Nation agencies and civil society took place to prepare a draft document that would form the basis for discussion at the conference. The draft document has now been completed.

As one might expect, countries and organisations differed on the issue of doing something about human population growth in order to achieve sustainable development.

On the one hand, for example, the Brazilian delegation argued that countries “can choose to repeat neo–Malthusian arguments or decide to reinstate the need for solidarity, equity and sustainable patterns of production and consumption with the developed countries taking the lead”. In other words, Brazil would not support measures to reduce population growth.

And a statement from the Holy See – i.e. the Vatican, the seat of the Roman Catholic Church – showed that church would not be changing its policy on population control. The Vatican statement argued that the document eventually agreed at the conference should adopt a “human centered approach” that must “avoid a reductionist approach which views the human as an obstacle to development”.

On the other hand, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) issued a statement about the draft document, recommending that governments ensure “that all women, men, and young people have information about, access to and choice of the widest possible range of safe effective, affordable and acceptable methods of family planning” (which include abortion services).

However, at the end of the day, the draft document apparently made no mention of population control or reproductive rights as being necessarily part of sustainable development policy.

30th January 2012.
“World lacks enough food, fuel as population soars: U.N.”

This is the title that the news agency Reuters gives to its press release on a major United Nations report released today on ‘Global Sustainability’. The actual report has the title:
“Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A future worth choosing”; and it is the report of the United Nations Secretary–General's High–level Panel on Global Sustainability. The title expresses the optimistic view of things that most such reports tend to adopt.

The following paragraphs from the opening chapter of the report (entitled “The Panel's vision”) give a useful summary of the situation as the panel sees it.

“1. Today our planet and our world are experiencing the best of times, and the worst of times. The world is experiencing unprecedented prosperity, while the planet is under unprecedented stress. Inequality between the world's rich and poor is growing, and more than a billion people still live in poverty. In many countries, there are rising waves of protest reflecting universal aspirations for a more prosperous, just and sustainable world.

“7. But what, then, is to be done if we are to make a real difference for the world's people and the planet? We must grasp the dimensions of the challenge. We must recognize that the drivers of that challenge include unsustainable lifestyles, production and consumption patterns and the impact of population growth. As the global population grows from 7 billion to almost 9 billion by 2040, and the number of middle–class consumers increases by 3 billion over the next 20 years, the demand for resources will rise exponentially. By 2030, the world will need at least 50 per cent more food, 45 per cent more energy and 30 per cent more water – all at a time when environmental boundaries are throwing up new limits to supply. This is true not least for climate change, which affects all aspects of human and planetary health.

“8. The current global development model is unsustainable. We can no longer assume that our collective actions will not trigger tipping points as environmental thresholds are breached, risking irreversible damage to both ecosystems and human communities. At the same time, such thresholds should not be used to impose arbitrary growth ceilings on developing countries seeking to lift their people out of poverty. Indeed, if we fail to resolve the sustainable development dilemma, we run the risk of condemning up to 3 billion members of our human family to a life of endemic poverty. Neither of these outcomes is acceptable, and we must find a new way forward.”

The greater part of the report deals with the recommendations for future action – 56 in all!

The report:
Unied Nations
The Reuters press release:

25th January 2012.
UK. Speech about the European Court of Human Rights by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Many people are concerned about legal decisions made in the UK being overturned by the European Court of Human Rights. We in Gaia Watch share this concern, especially when the issue is one that affects migration – more specifically defense of our borders and terrorism. The Prime Minister indicated quite a long time ago that he wanted to rectify this situation; and he has now set down his case for altering the European Law in a speech which we here reproduce.

Wednesday 25 January 2012.
“The Court has got to be able to fully protect itself against spurious cases when they have been dealt with at the national level.”


Prime Minister David Cameron:

“Once in a generation, each member has the honour of leading the Council of Europe.

Today, I want to speak about the once–in–a–generation chance we have, together, to improve the way we enhance the cause of human rights, freedom and dignity.

We have an ambitious agenda for the coming months…

…to reinforce local democracy…

…to combat discrimination…

…to strengthen the rule of law across Europe.

But the focus of our Chairmanship, as you know, is our joint effort to reform the European Court of Human Rights.

The role of the Court has never been more challenging.

As the Council has expanded, more and more people have applied to seek justice.

We need to work together to ensure that throughout these changes, the Court remains true to its original intention: to uphold the Convention and prevent the abuse of human rights.

So today, I want to explain why I believe the Court needs reform and set out some of the proposals on the table.


UK Commitment to Human Rights  

First, I want to make something clear.

Human rights is a cause that runs deep in the British heart and long in British history.

In the thirteenth century, Magna Carta set down specific rights for citizens, including the right to freedom from unlawful detention.

In the seventeenth century, the Petition of Right gave new authority to Parliament; and the Bill of Rights set limits on the power of the monarchy.

By the eighteenth century it was said that:

“this spirit of liberty is so deeply implanted in our constitution, and rooted in our very soil, that a slave the moment he lands in England, falls under the protection of the laws, and with regard to all natural rights becomes instantly a free man.”

It was that same spirit that led to the abolition of slavery…

…that drove the battle against tyranny in two World Wars…

…and that inspired Winston Churchill to promise that the end of the “world struggle” would see the “enthronement of human rights”.

As he put it, victory in that war was the “victory of an ideal founded on the right of the common man, on the dignity of the human being, and on the conception of the State as the servant, not the master, of its people.”

These beliefs have animated the British people for centuries – and they animate us today.

When the Arab Spring erupted, the UK was a principal supporter of resolutions at the UN Human Rights Council.

We are leading EU partners in maintaining pressure on Syria.

We have played a key role in securing EU sanctions against Iran.

Through the UN, we are working to empower women in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East.

We have pledged additional money to the Special Fund for Torture Prevention.

And we are contributing to the Council of Europe's own Human Rights Trust Fund.

All these are clear signals of our belief in fundamental human rights.

And if called to defend that belief with action, we act.

When the people of Libya were reaching for the chance to shape their own destiny, Britain stepped forward with our allies to help.

Visiting Tripoli a few months ago, seeing the crowds of people who were jubilant and free, I was reminded of what Margaret Thatcher once said:

“the spirit of freedom is too strong to be crushed by the tanks of tyrants”.

It is our hope that this spirit of freedom spreads further – and we will continue to support those reaching for it across the Arab world.

We are not and never will be a country that walks on by while human rights are trampled into the dust.

This has a lot to do with Britain's national character – a love of freedom and an instinctive loathing of over–mighty authority.

But it is also about our national interest – to live, travel and trade in a more open, secure world.

When a government respects its citizens' human rights, that makes for a more stable country – and that is good for all of us.

It was that great champion of freedom, Vaclav Havel, who said it best:

“Without free, self–respecting, and autonomous citizens there can be no free and independent nations. Without internal peace, that is, peace among citizens and between the citizens and the state, there can be no guarantee of external peace.”

In other words, a commitment to human rights is both morally right and strategically right.


Achievements of the Council and the Court

So I want no one here to doubt the British commitment to defending human rights…

…nor the British understanding that the Council of Europe, the Convention and the Court have played a vital role in upholding those rights.

But believing these things does not mean sticking with the status quo…

…because as we are agreed, the time is right to ask some serious questions about how the Court is working.

Over sixty years ago the Convention was drafted with very clear intentions.

It was born in a continent reeling from totalitarian rule…

…shocked by the brutality of the holocaust…

…sickened by man's inhumanity to man.

Its purpose was clear: to spread respect for vital human rights across the continent – for life, liberty and the integrity of the person.

It has achieved some vitally important things over the decades: exposing torture; winning victories against degrading treatment in police custody; holding heavy–handed states to account.

And since the Berlin Wall fell, it has played a major role in strengthening democracy across central and Eastern Europe.

Of course, we should remember that oppression and brutality are not just facts of Europe's past.

As we sit here today, in Belarus there are people being thrown into prison for their political beliefs.

Dissidents' voices are being silenced and their rights are being crushed.

What is happening less than a thousand miles from here underlines the continuing importance and relevance of the Council, the Convention and the Court.

It reminds us that now, more than ever, we need a Court that is a beacon for the cause of human rights, ruthlessly focussed on defending human freedom and dignity, respected across the continent and the world.

It is in that spirit that I have come here to speak to you today.

Because today, the ability of the Court to play this vital role is under threat.

As I see it, there are three inter–linking issues that should cause us concern.


Too many cases

First, the Court is being compelled to do too much, and that threatens its ability to do what is most important.

We have seen a massive inflation in the number of cases.

In the first forty years of its existence, 45,000 cases were presented to the Court.

In 2010 alone, 61,300 applications were presented.

This has created a huge backlog – more than 160,000 cases at its peak.

There can still be a delay of some years before cases are heard, which means tens of thousands of people with their lives on hold.

These will inevitably include some of the most serious cases: of detention; torture; people who have had their fundamental rights denied.

Let me be clear: impressive steps are already being taken to filter out inadmissible cases more quickly.

The Court should be congratulated on that – but a new problem is emerging.

More and more of the backlog is now made up of admissible cases that, according to the current criteria, should be heard in full.

Again, the Court is doing good work to deal with this.

A system to prioritise the most important cases is in place.

But the sheer volume risks urgent cases being stuck in the queue.

That means the very purpose of the Court – to prevent the most serious violations of human rights – is under threat.


Court of the fourth instance

This flood of cases is linked to the second issue.

The Court is properly safeguarding the right of individual petition – and it's a principle the UK is committed to.

But with this, comes the risk of turning into a court of ‘fourth instance’…

…because there has already been a first hearing in a court, a second one in an appeal court, and a third in a supreme or constitutional court.

In effect that gives an extra bite of the cherry to anyone who is dissatisfied with a domestic ruling, even where that judgement is reasonable, well–founded, and in line with the Convention.

Quite simply, the Court has got to be able to fully protect itself against spurious cases when they have been dealt with at the national level.

A good start has been made with Protocol 14, which makes clear that cases aren't admissible if there is no significant disadvantage to the applicant.

The initial case where the protocol has been used shows exactly the kind of thing I mean.

The applicant was taking a bus company to court for 90 Euros compensation, because they felt their journey from Bucharest to Madrid hadn't been as comfortable as advertised.

One of the matters at issue was that they didn't provide fully–reclining seats.

The domestic courts had turned him down, and he was taking his case to the Court.

Now I think we can all agree that fully–reclining seats would be very desirable on a trip from Bucharest to Madrid …

…but we can also agree that this is a completely trivial case, and is not the kind of case that should be heard here.

The Court agreed – and quite rightly rejected the claim.

But this case just underlines how important it is for the Court to have that consistent power to control the cases it admits.


Slim margin of appreciation

The third issue is that the Court is, quite rightly, determined to make sure that consistent standards of rights are upheld across the 47 member states…

…but at times it has felt to us in national governments that the ‘margin of appreciation’ – which allows for different interpretations of the Convention – has shrunk…

…and that not enough account is being taken of democratic decisions by national parliaments.

Let us be frank about the fall–out from this issue.

As the margin of appreciation has shrunk, so controversy has grown.

You will know that in the UK there is a lively debate about the way human rights law works, and how our own national courts interact with Europe.

Yes, some of this is misinterpretation – but some of it is credible democratic anxiety, as with the prisoner voting issue.

I completely understand the Court's belief that a national decision must be properly made.

But in the end, I believe that where an issue like this has been subjected to proper, reasoned democratic debate…

…and has also met with detailed scrutiny by national courts in line with the Convention…

…the decision made at a national level should be treated with respect.

Another example of this – and one we can all agree on – is in the area of immigration.

At Izmir, we collectively invited the Court, “to avoid intervening except in the most exceptional circumstances.”

All states agreed that the Court was, in some cases, too ready to substitute its judgment for that of reasonable national processes and all agreed that that was not its role.

In other words, it should not see itself as an immigration tribunal.

Protecting a country from terrorism is one of the most important tasks for any government.

Again, no one should argue that you defend our systems of rights and freedom by suspending those freedoms.

But we do have a real problem when it comes to foreign national who threaten our security.

In Britain we have gone through all reasonable national processes…

…including painstaking international agreements about how they should be treated…

…and scrutiny by our own courts…

…and yet we are still unable to deport them.

It is therefore not surprising that some people start asking questions about whether the current arrangements are really sensible.

Of course, no decent country should deport people if they are going to be tortured.

But the problem today is that you can end up with someone who has no right to live in your country, who you are convinced – and have good reason to be convinced – means to do your country harm.

And yet there are circumstances in which you cannot try them, you cannot detain them and you cannot deport them.

So having put in place every possible safeguard to ensure that ECHR rights are not violated, we still cannot fulfil our duty to our law-abiding citizens to protect them.

Together, we have to find a solution to this.

These concerns are shared by many member states.

And at the heart of this concern is not antipathy to human rights; it is anxiety that the concept of human rights is being distorted.

As a result, for too many people, the very concept of rights is in danger of slipping from something noble to something discredited – and that should be of deep concern to us all.

Upholding and promoting human rights is not something governments and courts can do alone…

…it is something we need all our societies to be engaged with.

And when controversial rulings overshadow the good and patient long–term work that has been done, that not only fails to do justice to the work of the Court…

…it has a corrosive effect on people's support for human rights.

The Court cannot afford to lose the confidence of the people of Europe.


Right moment for reform

Taken together, these issues threaten to shift the role of the Court away from its key objectives.

The Court should be free to deal with the most serious violations of human rights; it should not be swamped with an endless backlog of cases.

The Court should ensure that the right to individual petition counts; it should not act as a small claims court.

And the Court should hold us all to account; it should not undermine its own reputation by going over national decisions where it does not need to.

For the sake of the 800 million people the Court serves, we need to reform it so that it is true to its original purpose.

Already 47 members are agreed on this, and great work has been done.

Now we would like to use our Chairmanship to help progress that work.

This is the right moment for reform – reforms that are practical, sensible and that enhance the reputation of the Court.


Our proposals

So we are looking to improve the efficiency of the Court.

New rules could enable it to focus more efficiently and transparently on the most important cases.

We want to improve the procedures for nominating judges.

The Assembly needs consistently strong shortlists from which to elect judges – and  clear guidelines on national selection procedures could help with that.

And we are hoping to get consensus on strengthening subsidiarity – the principle that where possible, final decisions should be made nationally.

It is of course correct that the Court should hold governments to account when they fail to protect human rights.

In these instances it is right for the Court to intervene.

But what we are all striving for is that national governments should take primary responsibility for safeguarding their citizens' rights – and do it well.

Subsidiarity is a fundamental principle of the Convention, and at Izmir, we were all clear that more needed to be done to give it practical effect.

For that reason, we will shortly set out our proposals for pushing responsibility to the national system.

That way we can free up the Court to concentrate on the worst, most flagrant human rights violations – and to challenge national courts when they clearly haven't followed the Convention.

Of course, re–balancing this relationship is a two–way street.

The other side of the deal is that members get better at implementing the Convention at national level.

That is why, in the UK, we are investigating the case for a UK Bill of Rights, and thoroughly examining the way our liberties are protected.

Parliaments also have a key role – and we are proud of the role that our own Joint Committee on Human Rights plays.

And of course, this Assembly makes a vital contribution, helping states to honour their obligations.

Together, through these institutions, we can reduce the number of violations and ultimately ease the burden on the Court.



Let me finish today by saying this.

With this Chairmanship we have a clear opportunity to agree a practical programme of reform.

Built on the noble intentions of the Convention.

Forged through consensus.

Driven by a belief in fundamental human rights and a passion to advance them.

This is undoubtedly a challenge – but it is a challenge.”

10th January 2012.
UK. Impact of immigration on employment of Britsh workers.

The government's Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published its new report “Analysis on the impacts of migration” on the 10th of January. The remit of the report was quite wide, but the focus of the media was on one of the issues discussed, namely, the possible influence of immigration on the employment of British workers.

The MAC usually examines migration policy issues. Now new government immigration policies usually require an Impact Assessment (IA) before the policy is accepted. The IA examines and compares the likely costs and benefits of the policy if it were implemented. And this report of the MAC provides an evaluation that could be used in an IA. As the conclusion of the report states:

“We were commissioned to research the labour market, social and public service impacts of non–EEA migration; and to advise on the use of such evidence in cost–benefit analyses of migration policy decisions” (NB. EEA: the European Economic Area).

The chairman of the committee is Professor David Metcalf CBE, and the following extracts from his foreword to the report show the overall context of the report, and the conclusions on the particular subject of possible displacement of native workers.

“Our remit requires us to evaluate the present method used in immigration IAs and to suggest alternatives.

“This report concentrates on three areas. First, whose welfare should be considered – the 'resident' population or that of the population plus the immigrants? Second, do immigrants displace British workers in the labour market? Third, how can less easily monetised factors – for example, congestion, crime and consumption of education and health services – be included in the calculation? It cannot be emphasised too strongly that there are no unambiguous answers to each of these three questions. They require judgement and, sometimes, guidance from democratically elected politicians – for example, on who counts as a resident for these purposes.”

And now, we turn to the issue of displacement of native workers. Metcalf writes:

“The second issue is potential displacement of British workers by migrants. Previous academic studies differ in their conclusions on this important matter – vital to carrying out the IA. Therefore we undertook our own analysis. Our study has numerous qualifications and caveats. In particular, any link between immigration and employment of British–born people cannot be proved to be causal. Rather, it should be thought of as an association.

“We find no association between working–age migrants and native employment: (i) in buoyant economic times; (ii) for EU migrants; (iii) for the period 1975–1994. By contrast, we find a negative association between working–age migrants and native employment: (i) in depressed economic times; (ii) for non–EU migrants; (iii) for the period 1995-2010. A ballpark estimate is that an extra 100 non-EU working–age migrants are initially associated with 23 fewer native people employed. Such evidence suggests that successive governments since 2008 have been right to make non–EU migration more selective. It also leads, tentatively, to the conclusion that the present assumption in IAs that none of the output lost by lower migration is made good by higher employment of British workers is sometimes wrong and needs amending.

“But this possible displacement of British workers only holds for those migrants who have been here for under five years. Both EU and non–EU migrants who have been in the UK for over five years are not associated with displacement of British born workers. Between 1995 and 2010 employment of such working age migrants rose by approximately 2.1 million. The associated displacement of British born workers was, on our calculations, around 160,000 of the additional 2.1 million jobs held by migrants, or about 1 in 13.”

Read the full report:

We take the article in the Guardian newspaper as an illustration of media reaction:

The article points out that this new research on the subject of displacement contradicts the very recently released report of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) – see that institutes Press Release:

Finally, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) points to limitations to the significance of the MAC conclusions on displacement:

1st January 2012.
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) today released its study “Migration Review 2011/2012.”

This report must be considered against the background of present government policy to reduce total yearly net migration from the hundred thousands to the tens of thousands.

The report starts by referring to the long–term migration estimates for 2010 produced by the Office of National Statistics in November 2011. These estimates showed that while net migration was the highest recorded for any year, this was primarily caused by a significant fall in emigration rather than a rise in immigration (net migration equals the difference between gross immigration and gross emigration; since the early 1990s gross immigration has exceeded gross emigration, yielding net immigration).

The report goes on to consider the various categories of migrants.(for work, of families of workers, illegal immigration). The IPPR concludes that some reduction is likely to continue to be made to net migration, but this will be the result of the poor employment conditions resulting from the poor performance of the UK economy, as well as from government policy. And the government's target will not be achieved by a long way. Hence the title of the BBC report on this matter:
“UK immigration target will not be met, IPPR warns.”


19th December 2011.
Many foreign criminals are at large in the UK, with the European Commission's Human Rights Protocols and their interpretation in the UK being cited as a major reason.

Interest in parliament about newspaper reports that large number of foreign criminals have been freed and are at large in the UK community came to a head in mid–December leading up to questions and answers in the House of Commons about numbers and reasons for the large numbers. Focus of attention was the Immigration Minister, Damian Green.

The independent chief inspector's report (ICIR) on the management of foreign national prisoners (FNPs) concluded that:
“... concerning foreign national prisoners, where detention is indicated because of the higher likelihood of risk of absconding and harm to the public on release, it will normally be appropriate to detain as long as there is still a realistic prospect of removal within a reasonable timescale. The appropriateness and legality of detaining someone in each of these cases is considered every 28 days. Where it is no longer appropriate or lawful to detain, or where the courts grant bail (which accounts for 90% of releases from immigration detention), FNPs are released into the community. This has resulted in a growth in the numbers of non–detained former FNPs; the stock has grown by over 700 since Mar 2010 to a population of 3,807 in June 2011.”

This report also noted the effects of European Commission Human Rights Protocols, especially Article 8. This article states:

  1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
  2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well–being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

The report noted:
“This Government believes that Article 8 should only rarely outweigh the need to protect the public from serious criminals. The family migration consultation published in July opened up the debate around the overall balance to be struck in such cases. The consultation set out the Government's view that, where the deportation threshold is met, the presumption must be that deportation is justified in the public interest and that only in exceptional circumstances will deportation breach Article 8. Following the consultation the Government now intends to change the immigration rules to ensure a better balance between an individual's right to a family life, expressed in Article 8 of the ECHR, and the wider public interest, as expressed in the rest of Article 8, in controlling immigration.”

Another issue is obtaining the necessary travel documents without which deportation cannot be effected.

It seems very strange to us that a FNP can have such a strong personal influence on proceedings.

On the 19th of December, Damian Green was questioned by several members in Parliament's House of Commons (HoC) about this whole problem of the release of FNPs into the community and the problem of deportation.

The first MP to raise the issue was Chris Bryant (Rhondda) (Lab): “To ask the Secretary of State if he will make a statement on the Home Office report on the number of foreign national offenders who have committed crimes on release before being deported.”
Damian Green replied:

“This Government believe that foreign criminals should be returned to their home country at the earliest opportunity, and the UK Border Agency always seeks to remove them. Last year we removed more than 5,000 foreign criminals, 43% by the end of their prison sentence. Where there are barriers to early removal, the agency seeks to detain them to protect the public. However, the agency has to operate within the law. It must release foreign offenders when ordered to do so by the courts and release low–risk offenders where there is no realistic prospect of removal within a reasonable period. When this happens, the agency works closely with the police and the National Offender Management Service to reduce the risk of reoffending. Deportation action continues in all cases.

“There are 3,940 foreign offenders in the community, 90% of whom were released by the courts. Deportation can be delayed for many reasons, including challenges under human rights legislation, the situation in the offender's home country, and lack of co–operation by the offender or his home Government in getting essential travel documents. We are doing everything in our power to increase the number and speed of removals. We now start deportation action 18 months before the end of the sentence to speed up the deportation process. We are chartering flights to remove foreign offenders to many more long–haul and challenging destinations. We will change the immigration rules to cut abuse of the Human Rights Act 1998. We will open more foreign national–only prisons, and we will be able to remove more European offenders through the prisoner transfer agreement. The House can therefore see that we have already taken significant action to address this long–standing problem and intend to take further action in the months ahead which I hope Members on both sides of the House will support.”

However, Chris Bryant was not satisfied with this answer and he spoke again:
“Well, quite the opposite, in fact. The trouble is that the rhetoric does not fit with the facts. We learned this weekend that a report has been sitting in the Minister's hands for weeks and yet he had absolutely no plans to publish it. When was he going to reveal the true figures to this House? Will he publish the report, in full, this afternoon? Will he confirm that according to the report by the independent chief inspector of the UK Border Agency, John Vine, there were 3,775 foreign national offenders awaiting deportation in May this year, and that according to the secret internal Home Office report in his hands, that figure had leapt by September by nearly 500 to 4,238 – higher than the number that the Minister just gave us? That equates to seven foreign criminals in every constituency awaiting deportation. Is not that an increase of 12.5% in just four months? Can the Minister tell us where these people are? To be precise, can the Home Office be precise about the whereabouts of every single one of these people? If not, then contrary to what the Minister says, he has absolutely no means of deporting any one of them.

“Will the Minister confirm that the number of foreign national offenders deported has actually fallen this year – fallen, not risen – by more than 700, an astounding figure? Will he confirm that the number of staff at the UK Border Agency is being cut by 6,500? Will he confirm that foreign criminals who left prison this year and have not yet been deported have been arrested and charged with violent crimes? If so, how many; and does that include murder, kidnapping and violence to the person?

“So far on the Minister's watch, we have seen numbers of staff at the UK Border Agency going down, numbers of foreign national offenders deported going down, and numbers of foreign criminals in our midst going up. Does the Minister not realise that is the wrong way round? I urge him to get a grip as soon as possible, to publish the figures, to publish his secret report, and to put a real plan in place to ensure that more, not fewer, foreign criminals are deported: fewer words, more action.”

Well this exchange went on for some time between these two speakers, and then several other MPs also questioned the minister. To read the rest of the discussion go to:
HoC and scroll down to Column 1061 and the heading “Foreign National Offenders”.

This whole issue was of course reported by the BBC:
“Labour demand to know whereabouts of foreign criminals:”
and in newspapers, for example the Telegraph:
“Minister blames courts for releasing foreign criminals:”

Early December 2011.
Surge of reports and discussions about climate change.

On the 5th of December 2011 the UK Meteorological Office published a report. The Press Release begins:
“The results of a major new scientific assessment of climate change were published today, highlighting the changes the world has already seen and the impacts it could face if global temperature changes are not limited.

“The assessment commissioned by Chris Huhne, the UK's Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and lead by the Met Office Hadley Centre studied 24 different countries, from developed to developing. It notes that all the countries in the study have warmed since the 1960s and that the occurrence of extremely warm temperatures has increased whilst extremely cold temperatures have become less frequent.

“If emissions are left unchecked, the report says temperatures would rise generally between three and five degrees Celsius this century. This could be accompanied by significant changes in rainfall patterns, leading in many cases to increased pressure on crop production, water stress and flood risks.”

Focusing on just one alpine area, the BBC noted on 7th December that a study from the University of Savoie showed French alpine glaciers are decreasing in size. The decrease in size has accelerated in recent years. The effect is worse in the south, where some glaciers have almost disappeared.

The same day David Attenborough presented the last episode of his television series “Frozen Planet”, entitled “On thin ice”. This showed how polar temperatures are rising faster than ever before, having profound effects on these regions. For example in the arctic, sea ice is melting earlier and more extensively year by year, and this together with melting sea ice in the Antarctic will cause serious global sea level rises, threatening coastal civilizations. However, Attenborough did not discuss causes of global warming, so did not mention the causal role of continued human population growth.

All this led up to the final days of the big international conference on climate change in Durban, South Africa, which finally ended on Sunday the 11th of December. Spokespersons for the conference portrayed the conference as a success. Thus we read that the conference “has guaranteed policy certainty and laid a path for a new climate regime well into the future”. And “As a result the EU's emission cutting pledges will now be legally–bound, inside the Kyoto Protoccol.”

However, representatives of Non–Governmental Organisations (NGOs) at the conference, had divided opinions. The majority thought the conference was a “major disappointment”, because the agreements made were in their estimation totally inadequate to deal with the problem of climate change.
Tierney Smith.

28th November 2011.
White working–class views of neighbourhood, cohesion and change.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has today released a new report entitled:
“White working–class views of neighbourhood, cohesion and change”.

The report shows that White people feel the local authorities don't care about them, but do care for the ethnic minority populations, so they are disadvantaged in their own land. One of the quotes given in the report illustrates the problem: “We are the forgot–about people. You plonked us here and forgot about us. Dumped in the tribal site.”

One particular matter that came up again and again was social housing. A view commonly held by the white people was that they thought minorities were able to jump the queue for social housing, minority groups that did not add anything positive to the area.

As for the phrase ‘social cohesion’, that was foreign to white working class vocabulary, just a phrase forced upon them by the authorities who seemed to have a ‘top down’ approach to planning, rather than a ‘bottom up’ approach.


24th November 2011.
Doubts about whether the UK government can achieve its immigration reduction target.

These doubts are best expressed by the Daily Mail's headine: “Net migration hits a record 252,000, despite PM's vow to slash numbers. 591,000 immigrants came to UK in 2010.”

The source of information was the ONS Statistical Bulletin “Migration Statistics Quarterly Report November 2011.” The report makes clear that the increase in the net immigration figure was not caused by an increase in immigration, but rather, by a decrease in emigration.

And the following “Key Points are taken from that report”.
  • Final figures for 2010 show that annual net migration to the UK was 252,000, the highest calendar year figure on record.
  • Emigration reached its lowest calendar year figure since 2001 at 339,000 in 2010. Immigration remained steady at 591,000. Declining emigration is the main driver for the increase in net migration.
  • More recent provisional data show net migration was 245,000 for the year ending March 2011. This compares to 222,000 in the year ending March 2010. Immigration remains steady at 582,000 and emigration is at its joint lowest since December 2001 at 336,000 in the year to March 2011 (The year ending June 2005 also had 336,000 people emigrating).
  • Final calendar year figures show that in 2010, there were 238,000 people arriving to study in the UK. This is the highest calendar year figure on record. Provisional figures indicate that this has decreased by approximately 7,000 in the year ending March 2011.
  • Fewer people are emigrating from the UK for work–related reasons. Figures for the year ending March 2011 show that 174,000 emigrants left the UK for work related reasons. This is its lowest for five years and compares to 203,000 in the year to March 2010.

Mail Online

18th November 2011.
Westminster Council (WCC) warns new immigration figures don't add up.

The City of Westminster has issued the following Press release today, 21st November 2011.

“Westminster Council (WCC) warns new immigration figures don't add up.

“New indicative figures published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) are failing to accurately measure migration within England and Wales, Westminster City Council has warned.

“The new figures suggest that Westminster has lost 17% (10,000) of incoming migrants between 2006–10, despite the council's own data reporting a rise in numbers paying council tax. Cities such as Manchester and Bristol are also reported to have lost up to 35% (30,000 people) of their incoming migrant populations over the same period, compared to data previously released by the ONS.

“The ONS report, ‘Improved Immigration Estimates to Local Authorities in England and Wales’, was compiled using data from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) database, which has had an impact on how migration has spread across the UK. This new method for collecting data is currently under consultation, however if accepted it could influence official figures in 2012. This is the sixth change in migration measurement since 2002, with the most recent change only being introduced in May 2010. Continual changes to how migration is measured has severely impacted upon the future planning of services and the allocation of funding to local government.

“Speaking today, Westminster City Council Leader Cllr Colin Barrow said:

“‘These new figures from the ONS are unreliable, and should not be allowed to become official data of migration in the UK. We would seriously question the estimate that less than 4,000 migrants came to Westminster in 2009/10 to seek work – we have seen more people registering with doctors and more people paying council tax in Westminster, so we fail to understand how the Government statisticians can be so wrong. At the stroke of a statistician's pen, Westminster's incoming migrant population appears to have dropped by 17% over four years; you only have to go out into the bars and restaurants in the West End to see that migrants come to Westminster to live and work in much greater numbers than this.

“‘After four years of work supposedly improving migration estimates the ONS apparently still has little idea how many migrants are in the country or where they live and work.’”

18th November 2011.
93% of immigrants come to England – the sixth most crowded country in the world

93% of immigrants to the UK live in England. That is the conclusion of research by Migration Watch UK. Of the 7.1 million foreign born people living in the UK, 6.6 million live in England. As for the latest projections for population growth, 86% is expected to occur in England.

Commenting, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migration Watch UK said:

“The immigration lobby like to talk about the UK, obscuring the fact that England is six times as crowded as Scotland. Since the vast majority of immigrants come to England, it is England’s place in the league table that counts. Leaving aside city states and small islands, England lies sixth among the most crowded countries in the world. As people sit in traffic jams or squeeze onto their morning trains it will be clearly ridiculous to claim that their eyes are deceiving them and there is not a problem simply because places like the Maldives or Mayotte have higher population densities than England”.

To read the brief report of the research mentioned see

16th November 2011.
UK. A proposal to reduce the burden on the state of foreign spouses from outside the European Union, which will also help to reduce immigration levels.

The government has the stated intention to cut annual immigration from the most recent level of 239,000 a year to below 100,000 a year (the pledge to reduce migration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands).

The prime minister wants to reduce the number of dependents of UK residents coming into the country as part of this aim, and at the same time reduce the burden on the state of dependents. The way to do this is to ensure the resident partner can support any incoming dependents by setting a minimum wage of that partner below which dependents are not allowed to enter the UK.

There is already such a level set; it is £13,000 per annum, and the government thinks this is far too low. So the government's Migratory Advisory Committee (MAC) was asked by the government's Home Office to answer the question – what minimum earnings of the resident partners were needed to enable them to support dependents without being a burden on the state.

Now the MAC has made its report and suggested the income level should be raised from its present level, £13,700 before tax, to between £18,600 and £25,700 before tax. Now the Home Office will have to decide what the level should be.

Here is the opening of the foreword to the report written by its chairman, Professor David Metcalf CBE:

“Immigration inflows mainly consist of students, workers and family. Thus far the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has been asked to focus on workers. However, the Government now intends to reform family migration. The Home Secretary stated in her foreword to the consultation (Home Office, 2011a) that the ‘key themes to our approach are stopping abuse, promoting integration and reducing the burden on the taxpayer’. The MAC has been tasked to make recommendations on the last of the three themes.

“At present a UK–based sponsor (UK national or foreign national with indefinite leave to remain) requires a post–tax income of just £105.95 a week (£5,500 a year), excluding housing costs, to apply to bring a spouse or partner into this country. This figure is determined by the Home Office following an Immigration Appeal Tribunal ruling in 2006 that the sponsor's income must be at least equal to what the family would receive on income support.

“The required income figure seems remarkably low in the context of the question the MAC has been asked (see paragraph 1.3). The question refers to the income needed to support the family ‘without them becoming a burden on the State’. This requirement can be interpreted in a number of ways, as set out in this report. For example, the annual gross pay at which no income–related benefits would be received (in a two–adult family), assuming that the family pays rent of £100 per week, is £18,600. A higher pay benchmark would apply if avoiding becoming a burden on the state also required that the family was expected to contribute to public spending on public services such as healthcare, education and defence. And, of course, the amounts consistent with not ‘becoming a burden on the State’ are higher if children are present.

“The MAC recognises that family migration regulations are not determined by economic factors alone. But it is an economic issue – required family income – that we have been asked to address. On this basis, the present income stipulation is too low. The MAC suggests, instead, a minimum gross income figure to support a two–adult family of between £18,600 and £25,700. We estimate that nearly two thirds of sponsors would not have sufficient gross income to meet the higher of these thresholds. But our analysis suggests that, based on only economic criteria, there is a case for such a benchmark.”

Finally, it is worth realising that the UK policy of requiring sponsors of people coming in by the family route to be able to support both themselves and other family members is found in several other western countries (but not in the USA and Australia).

Migration Advisory Committee, Home Office
See also Financial Times (FT) “Move to raise bar for foreign spouses”:

7th November 2011.
New opinion poll finds that 79% of adults in England think the country is crowded.

“A new YouGov poll out today has found that 79% of adults in England consider England to be crowded; with 37% saying it is 'very crowded.'

“Only 3% believe that it is not crowded, whilst 15% think that England is about right. The figures were higher for London (85%) and the rest of the South (81%) while the rest of England and Wales were at about 76%.

“The poll, for think tank Migration Watch UK, coincides with their e–petition launched on November 1 which calls on the Government to take all necessary measures to keep the UK population under 70 million.

“The poll asked voters about the latest population forecasts, which expect the population of the UK to reach 70 million in sixteen years, 76% were concerned about this prospect (37% very concerned) while only 20% were not concerned; 4% did not know.

“There was a difference according to voting intention with Conservatives at 86%, Liberal Democrats at 77% and Labour at 72%. The over 60s also showed greater concern at 86% while in Scotland only 62% were concerned.

“The poll also asked about support for reducing net immigration to 40,000 a year in future years – the level required to keep the population below 70 million. 69% supported such a level (44% strongly), only 12% were opposed (4% strongly); 10% had no view and 9% didn't know. Those intending to vote Conservative felt most strongly (83%) but both Lib Dem and Labour voters showed just over 60% support with 18% – 20% opposed.

“Commenting, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said:

“‘This poll explains the huge public support for our e–petition and demonstrates quite clearly that most people think England is already overcrowded,’ said Sir Andrew Green, Migrationwatch chairman. ‘By more than 25 to 1 English people consider England to be already crowded. By more than 5 to 1 they support getting net immigration down to 40,000 a year. Only 3% want net immigration higher than the most recent level of 240,000.’

“’The position of Lib Dem voters is particularly interesting with 75% believing that England is already crowded, 77% concerned about a UK population of 70 million and 61% in favour of getting net immigration down to 40,000 compared to 20% who oppose this policy’.”


Intellectual copyright remains the property of MigrationWatch UK © 2001 MigrationWatch UK. All rights reserved.

Please also read, at the same web address, about an e–petition to the UK Government calling for the population of the UK to be stabilised at below 70 million (after one week support has reached 100,000 signatures).

4th November 2011.
“Border agency continues to fail.”

Here is the main part of the UK Home Affairs Committee (HAC) announcement:

“Report: The work of the UK Border Agency (April-July 2011) Home Affairs Committee.

“Foreign National Prisoners
In a report published today, the Home Affairs Committee criticises the UK Border Agency for failing to explain why 350 foreign national prisoners due to be deported are still in the country. The Agency provided the Committee with a breakdown of the issues with the deportation process of 1,300 prisoners who were released between 1 April 2010 and 31 March 2011. The largest group, making up 27% of the total, was labelled ‘unknown’.

“Legacy cases
The Committee also found that the Agency has not resolved all of the asylum ‘legacy’ cases first identified in 2006 within the promised 5 year timeframe. Instead, 18,000 ongoing cases are still awaiting a final decision.

“Lost applicants
The Committee also highlighted its concern at the dramatic increase in files transferred to the ‘controlled archive’ in the past six months. The files, which are placed in the archive when every effort to track an applicant has been exhausted, numbered 40,500 in March 2011. By September 2011, it had increased to 124,000. The Committee has recommended that guidance be produced on the management of the controlled archive and has stated with conviction that any further rise in the number of files transferred to the archive will be considered a failing on the part of the Agency.

“Use of intelligence
The Committee also criticises the Agency for its inability to disclose how many individuals were removed from the country due to intelligence provided by members of the public. The Committee emphasises the importance of intelligence provided to the Agency in stopping abuse of the system, but warns that unless the public can see that the Agency uses the intelligence provided, it will simply lead to further public frustration with the immigration system as a whole.

“Language and terminology
The Committee objects to the Agency's use of the euphemistic term ‘controlled archive’ to describe the applicants with whom it has lost contact. It would be more appropriate to describe it as the archive of lost applicants. The Committee is also surprised by its claim that the UK Border Agency does not recognise the term ‘bogus college’ given the Home Office released a press notice earlier this week which focused on colleges which had their licences revoked, some of which were described as ‘bogus’.

The Committee makes a series of specific recommendations aimed at improving the working of the Agency:

  • The Government should commission a detailed investigation into financial waste, included the writing–off of bad debts, overpayments to staff and asylum applicants, and failure to collect civil penalties.
  • There should be better liaison between the Agency and HM Prison Service to ensure that foreign national prisoners are deported, where appropriate, rather than released into the community.
  • The Agency is losing too many appeals at immigration tribunals. It should raise the quality of its representation and commit to being at every hearing so that the case for refusal can properly be made.
  • The Agency needs to ensure that all their staff are aware of the existence of ‘bogus colleges’, which exist only to sponsor visa applications.

The Rt. Hon Keith Vaz MP, Chairman of the Committee said:

‘The UK Border Agency is still not providing the efficient, effective service that Parliament expects.

The so–called ‘controlled archive’ has become a dumping ground for cases where the UK Border Agency has lost track of the applicant. From 18,000 files last November, it has now grown to 124,000 — the equivalent of the population of Cambridge.

The Prime Minister himself recently called for members of the public to provide intelligence on immigrants. There is little point in encouraging people to do this if the border agency continues to fail to manage the intelligence it receives or to keep track of those who apply to stay. A fit for purpose immigration system needs to keep track of applicants rather than allowing them to go missing.’ ”


31st October 2011.
UK. “Guest workers: Settlement, temporary economic migration and a critique of the government's plans.”

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has produced a new report with the above title, that criticises a recent development in the government's immigration policy.

This development is being brought in by the Home Office as part of the goverment's intention to bring down the level of immigration.

Essentially the proposal is to reduce the number of non–EU migrants who currently have the right to settle in the UK by making migrants in most categories leave again before or after five years residence.

The IPPR report concludes that implementing this proposal is “impractical”, likely to be economically and socially damaging and might even be unpopular with the public.


NB. We would have liked to give the full press release from the IPPR, but we could not do that, as we explained in a news item in January this year where we wrote:
“We recently wrote to the ippr (20th January), primarily as a matter of courtesy, asking them if they would mind if we reproduced their news release in full. The ippr replied the same day, not however answering our query, but rather requesting information about our organisation, which we duly sent the same day. A couple of days later we wrote again requesting a reply to our original request. So far we have not had a reply, but that may of course come in the next few days. If it does, and the ippr have no objection to us posting the News Release in full, we will alter this section of our News page appropriately.”

We never received any reply.
It is also interesting that the left–leaning Guardian newspaper had an article by its Home Affairs editor on this report the same day that it was released. This article made no criticism of the IPPR report:
“Home Office ban 'replaces economic migrants with guest workers'. Immigration policy proposed by Damian Green will damage economy and integration, warns thinktank IPPR.”


26th October 2011.
“UNFPA. State of World Population 2011.”

It is estimated by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) that the world human population will reach seven billion at the end of this month (October 2011). This follows a brief period, historically speaking of very rapid and continued population growth never seen before in the whole history of mankind.

About 2,000 years ago the world population was about 300 million. It took a further 1,600 years to double to 600 million. The population reached one billion around 1805 then took around 122 years to reach two billion in 1927, only 33 further years to reach three billion around 1960, then after ever decreasing time periods, after 14 years it reached four billion in 1974 then after 13 years five billion around 1987 and after a further twelve years six billion in 1999.

United Nations (UN) projections for the future (published May 2011) vary considerably. According to the 'medium variant', which sees world population growth rate gradually declining, the population will reach over 10 billion in 2100; this assumes a gradually decline in world fertility. But fertility may decline slightly less than assumed with this projection, and in this case the world population could reach 15 billion by 2100!

UNFPA. State of World Population 2011.

26th October 2011.
“Statistical bulletin - 2010-based national population projections - principal projection and key variants.”

Here are the 'key points' mentioned at the beginning of this document. As we will see later, one of these points gives a misleading picture of the influence of immigration on population growth.

  • The UK population is projected to increase by 4.9 million from an estimated 62.3 million in 2010 to 67.2 million over the ten year period to 2020.
  • Projected natural increase accounts for 56 per cent of the projected increase over the next decade.
  • The UK population is projected to increase to 73.2 million over the 25 year period to mid-2035, which is equivalent to an average annual growth rate of 0.6 per cent.
  • The UK population is projected to reach 70 million by mid-2027.
  • The population is projected to continue ageing with the average (median) age rising from 39.7 years in 2010 to 39.9 years in 2020 and 42.2 by 2035.

NB. The balance of births and deaths is called natural change. If births exceed deaths, this becomes natural increase.

Which point is misleading? It is:
“Projected natural increase accounts for 56 per cent of the projected increase over the next decade”.

Population growth has two causes; first, natural increase (the excess of births over deaths), second, net immigration (the excess of gross immigration over gross emigration). The key point is formally correct, but it is misleading. Why? Because immigrants themselves reproduce and so influence natural increase. And in fact, if you look further in this report (which many people may not do and hence be deceived by the key point) we read as follows:

“The projected numbers of future births and deaths are themselves partly dependent on the assumed level of net migration. Because migration is concentrated at young adult ages, the assumed level of net migration affects the projected number of women of childbearing age and hence the projected number of births. Of the 5.8 million natural increase projected between 2010 and 2035, only 3.5 million would occur if net migration were zero (at each and every age) throughout the projection period (Table 3). Thus just over two-thirds of the projected increase in the population over the period 2010 to 2035 is either directly or indirectly due to migration (47 per cent directly attributable to future migration and a further 21 per cent indirectly due to future migration through its effect on natural change)” (our emphasis).

Variant population projections. The above account is based on the principal or central projection. But the ONS produce a whole series of projections. Now all projections rest on assumptions made about the variables fertility, life expectancy (found from births and deaths), and migration. Varying these quantities results in a variety of projections. From these, using plausible values of the three variables, it seems that the population at 2035, instead of reaching 723.5 million size as in the central projection, could reach a much higher or much lower level (details are given).


18th October 2011.
UK Home Office “40,000 fewer jobs open to migrants.”

The government accepted recommendations today from the independent Migration Advisory Committee that will mean 40,000 fewer jobs on the shortage occupation list.

“Specialist jobs that can now be filled by the resident workforce will be removed from the government–approved shortage occupation list, which is based on country needs. The total number of jobs covered by the list will drop from 230,000 to 190,000.

“The occupations in the list are the only positions open to migrants from outside the European Economic Area under the shortage occupation route of Tier 2 of the Points Based System.
In 2008, before the Migration Advisory Committee recommended changes to it, that list covered over one million employees.

“The Migration Advisory Committee recommended changes where evidence from a range of industries and sectors showed resident workers are available to fill the vacancies.

Brightest and best

“Immigration Minister Damian Green said: ‘Alongside our limits on overseas workers we are taking action to provide businesses with the skills they need from the British workforce and reduce their need for migrants.

‘We want the brightest and the best people from outside the EU with the skills we can benefit from in the UK.’”

The document then went on to list the occupations that the MAC recommended be removed from the list.

Home Office

13th October 2011.

“UK will not opt in to EU asylum directives.”

“Immigration Minister Damian Green has informed Parliament that the UK will not be opting in to two EU asylum directives.”

“The directives would have restricted our ability to run an asylum system which is both fair and efficient.”

“The Immigration Minister said: ‘This Government does not support a common asylum system in Europe. That is why we have not opted in to these directives and will not opt in to any proposal which would weaken our border’.”

“Signing up to the Reception Conditions Directive would have forced the UK to allow asylum seekers to work after six months, even if their claims had been refused and they were appealing against the decision.”

“Unfounded asylum claims ”

“This would have sent out the wrong message, encouraging those who do not need our protection to make unfounded asylum claims.”

“It would also have required all detention to be authorised by a judge, whether or not the detainee wanted to apply for bail. This would have placed a burden on our courts and been costly for the British taxpayer.”

“Opting in to the Procedures Directive would have jeopardised ways of working which enable the UK to manage straightforward asylum claims effectively – in particular the Detained Fast Track which provides speedy but fair decisions for asylum seekers whose claims can be decided quickly.”

Home Office

10th October 2011.
UK. Tightening up on immigration – announcements at the Conservative Party conference; Part Two.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, made a speech on immigration at the Conservative Party conference on 10th October. Having mentioned the advantages and disadvantages of immigration he said:

“So what does all this mean? Well, put simply, yes, we need immigration, but it needs to be controlled. We need to have control over how many people come here and who, but the reality is we've inherited a system where we don't really have control over either.”

The Prime Minister then dealt critically and in detail with the present immigration system, and its different tiers for entry and employment. And following this he spoke about the measures that the new government has already introduced to improve the immigration system:
“In April, we introduced a limit on the number of economic migrants able to come to the UK from outside the European Economic Area. Now, many people predicted that this wouldn't work and that it would stop British businesses getting the workers they need, but the evidence shows this hasn't been the case. That limit of 20,700 for the year has been undersubscribed each and every month since it was introduced, with businesses currently using less than half of their monthly quotas. That provides the opportunity to consider with business what further tightening of the system may be possible without undermining growth and we'll be asking the Migration Advisory Committee to look into this whole area again and to reconsider whether the limit is set at the right level.”

“But we've not just added a blanket limit. We've begun to be much more selective not just about how many people come in, but about who comes in. Britain is one of the most open economies and open societies in the world and we want the best and the brightest to come here: the investors and the entrepreneurs who will create the businesses and the jobs of tomorrow and the scientists who will help keep Britain at the heart of the great advances in medicine, biotech, advanced manufacturing and communications. These people deserve the red–carpet treatment and that is what we'll give them. So we've actually increased the opportunities for foreign investors and entrepreneurs to come here, issuing 196 visas to entrepreneurs in the first half of this year, on track to be more than what we did last year. We've opened a new pathway for those of exceptional talent, nominated by the likes of the Royal Society and the Arts Council and, in future, we'll make it easier for angel investors to back foreign entrepreneurs, people who are starting small scale but may end up running the blue–chip businesses of tomorrow.”

“We've also listened very carefully to business over inter–company transfers, ensuring that multinational companies with a presence here can bring in their skilled managers and specialists, because attracting top business investment to Britain is a fundamental part of our strategy for economic growth.
But we also want to do more to encourage employers to take on British workers. On the advice of the Migration Advisory Committee we've reduced the number of jobs that can be offered to migrants, including jobs like care workers and chefs, but I want us to go further.”

On students:
“Now through carefully made coalition policy we've managed to ensure there's nothing to stop genuine students applying to study here. We're working with the sector to encourage the brightest and best students from around the world to come and study and we intend over the next year to step up efforts to attract a greater share of the best globally mobile business school and other postgraduate talent to come to the UK.”

“But when it comes to bogus colleges and bogus students we have to be equally clear. They have no place in our country.
Since May 2010 the UK Border Agency has revoked the licences of 97 education providers. A further 36 currently have their licences suspended and 340 institutions will be prevented from bringing in new non–EU students after failing to apply to the relevant bodies who will oversee the quality and standards of education providers.”

On family migration:
“We've been consulting on how to ensure those who come to the UK as family migrants are supported without becoming a burden on the taxpayer. We'll be bringing forward firm proposals shortly but a sample of more than 500 family migration cases found that over 70 per cent of UK–based sponsors had post–tax earnings of less than £20,000 a year. Now, when the income level of the sponsor is this low there is an obvious risk that the migrants and their family will become a significant burden on the welfare system and on the taxpayer. So we've asked the Migration Advisory Committee to look at the case for increasing the minimum level for appropriate maintenance. And we're going to look at further measures to ensure financial independence, discounting promises of support from family and friends and whether a financial bond would be appropriate in some cases.”

“We're also consulting on how to tackle abuse of the system to make sure that family migrants who come here are in a genuine relationship with their partner. Time and again visa officers receive applications from spouses or partners sponsoring another spouse or partner soon after being granted settlement in the UK, suggesting the original marriage or partnership was simply a sham designed to get them permanent residence here.”

“So we will make migrants wait longer to show they're in really genuine relationships before they can get settlement and we'll also impose stricter and clearer tests on the genuineness of relationships including the ability to speak the same language and know each other's circumstances. We'll also end the ridiculous situation where a registrar who knows a marriage is a sham still has to perform the ceremony.”

On illegal immigration:
“ We've got to be much better at finding these people and getting them out of our country. We've already made some big changes, telling credit reference agencies about illegal immigrants so they can't get easy access to credit. We've ensured the UK Border Agency and HMRC work more closely together to come down hard on rogue businesses which use illegal labour to evade tax and minimum wage laws, and we're creating biometric residence permits which are just like a biometric passport to give employers much greater certainty over who they're employing and their right to be in the country. ”

Prime Minister

4th October 2011.
UK. Tightening up on immigration – annoucements at the Conservative Party conference; Part One.

The Home Secretary Theresa May and the Immigration Minister Damian Green outlined measures that will tighten the control of immigration. Here is the portion of her speech that deals with immigration.

“Cutting immigration.
And as Conservatives, we understand too the need to reduce and control immigration. Of course, limited immigration can bring benefits to Britain , and we'll always welcome those who genuinely seek refuge from persecution.

“But we know what damage uncontrolled immigration can do. To our society, as communities struggle to cope with rapid change. To our infrastructure, as our housing stock and transport system become overloaded. And to our public services, as schools and hospitals have to cope with a sudden increase in demand.

“Yet that is exactly what Labour let happen. As Damian explained earlier, under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, net migration to Britain was never any higher than the tens of thousands. But under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, net migration to Britain was in the hundreds of thousands. In total, net migration to Britain under Labour was 2.2 million – more than four times the size of Manchester.

“That's why we've made it our aim to get net migration back down to the tens of thousands. Cutting immigration is not as simple as turning off a tap – it's a complex and litigious system – and so it will take time. But we're taking action on every route to the UK – and the numbers will soon start to come down.

“Under Labour, economic migration was so out of control that almost a third of the people who came here as highly–skilled workers did unskilled jobs. So we've cut out that abuse and we've capped economic migration from outside the EU.

“Under Labour, the student visa system was so badly abused that it became the main way to get to Britain. So we're closing down bogus colleges, regulating the remainder, restricting the right to work here and bring dependants, and making sure that all but the very best go home at the end of their studies.

“Under Labour, temporary immigration led to an automatic right to settle here. So we're breaking that link, making sure that immigrants who come here to work go home at the end of their visa.

“And under Labour, the family visa system failed to promote integration, curb abuse and protect public services. So we've made it compulsory to speak English and we'll soon publish tough new proposals on family visas.

“So we're taking action to reduce immigration across every route to Britain. But these tough new rules need to be enforced, and we need to make sure that we're not constrained from removing foreign nationals who, in all sanity, should have no right to be here.

“We all know the stories about the Human Rights Act. The violent drug dealer who cannot be sent home because his daughter – for whom he pays no maintenance – lives here. The robber who cannot be removed because he has a girlfriend. The illegal immigrant who cannot be deported because – and I am not making this up – he had a pet cat.

“This is why I remain of the view that the Human Rights Act needs to go. The Government's Commission is looking at a British Bill of Rights. And I can today announce that we will change the immigration rules to ensure that the misinterpretation of Article Eight of the ECHR – the right to a family life – no longer prevents the deportation of people who shouldn't be here.
I expect not many people have actually read Article Eight, so let me tell you what it says:
‘Article 8.1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.’ You can imagine, in post–war Europe , what the draftsmen intended. But now our courts –and the problem lies mainly in British courts – interpret the right to a family life as an almost absolute right.

“Let me read to you the rest of what Article Eight says: ‘Article 8.2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well–being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.’

“The right to a family life is not an absolute right, and it must not be used to drive a coach and horses through our immigration system.

“The meaning of Article Eight should no longer be perverted. So I will write it into our immigration rules that when foreign nationals are convicted of a criminal offence or breach our immigration laws: when they should be removed, they will be removed.

“Our opponents will say it can't be done, that they will fight us every step of the way. But they said that about the cap on economic migration, and we did it. They said that about our student visa reforms, and we're doing them. As Home Secretary, I will do everything I can to restore sanity to our immigration system and get the numbers down.

“Economic migration – capped.

“Abuse of student visas – stopped.

“Automatic settlement – scrapped.

“Compulsory English language tests, tough new rules for family visas, ending the abuse of Article Eight.
A clear plan to get net migration down to the tens of thousands.

“Conservative values to fight crime and cut immigration.
You know, the Labour Party still claim they had immigration under control. That their points–based system had sorted everything out. That all they should have done was introduce it earlier. They still don't get it.

“We know now that they denounced anybody worried about immigration as a bigot. And they say we can't trust the public to vote for police and crime commissioners, because they might elect extremists. They have total contempt for what the people think.

“When government fails to protect the public from crime and when it fails to control immigration, it might not bother the left-wing elites, because they're not the ones who pay the price. But the people who do are the very people I'm in politics to serve the men and women who work hard for a living, make sacifices for their family, and care about their community. It should be our moral mission to help working people build a better future for themselves and their families.

“So I will never be ashamed to say that we should do everything we can to reward those who do the right thing, and I will never hesitate to say we should punish those who do the wrong thing.

“That's why we must trust the people, by giving them their say about policing their communities. And it's why we must respect the people, by doing what they want and getting to grips with immigration. That is what I am determined to do.”

Theresa May

13th September 2011.
UK. Is the high birth rate of some ethnic minority groups because by having more children they get larger benefits and are eligible for bigger houses?

Welfare Reform Bill. Second Reading.

A contribution from the Indian–born Indian member of the UK House of Lords, Baroness Flather, in the debate about this bill.

“I want to introduce an utterly controversial idea. I expect that it will not find much favour, but it has been on my mind, and I am often controversial in what I say. I feel that people should not be getting the full raft of benefits for any number of children. I feel that the first two children should get a full raft of benefits, the third child should get three–quarters and the fourth child should get a half. I say this, especially after the recent riots, because we need to give responsibility for bringing up children back to the parents. It is very easy to produce a child, but it is not very easy to bring it up. I hear parents saying, “The school should teach them that,” or “The school should do that”, as if the state should take care of everything. The school has so much less time with a child than the parents do. I think it is time to make parents responsible for at least some part of bringing up their children.

“The minority communities in this country, particularly the Pakistanis and the Bangladeshis, have very large numbers of children and the money that follows the child is an attraction. Nobody likes to accept that or to talk about it because it is supposed to be very politically incorrect. Well, I am politically incorrect, and there is no doubt that six or seven children give you a far larger income than three or four. I think it is about time that we stop people using children as a means of increasing the amount of money that they receive or of getting a bigger house.

“In the countries of origin, these people – Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and even Indians – have large families because there is no safety net. When you get old, it is only your children who are going to look after you. That does not apply here. Every old person will have their pension and will be looked after. It is time to introduce the pattern of this country and to tell people that they must start following it. At the bottom of the education league tables are the Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, and top of the league are the Chinese and Indians. Indians have fallen into the pattern here. They do not have large families because they are like the Jews: they want their children to be educated. This is the other problem: there is no emphasis on education in the Pakistani and Bangladeshi families. If there was, there would be no problem. But we have a large number of young people, particularly young men, who have very few skills and very basic education and they are not really skilled to do any work even if the work were available.

“It concerns me that we do not say anything, we do not do anything and we do not send any message that this is not acceptable. Having a child is easy; bringing up a child is difficult. The recent riots have told us that parents need to take responsibility for their children”.

Baroness Flather

8th September 2011.
UK: Another bad effect of immigration from the rest of Europe – quality of health workers, especially nurses, from Eastern Block countries, especially Romania and Bulgaria.

In the House of Lord of the UK parliament an important debate started today. The subject was “Health Professionals: EEA and Non–EEA Citizens”.

EEA is the acronym of the European Economic Area. This comprises members of the European Union together with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Considerable concern was expressed by some members over the quality of many nurses and even doctors coming to the UK from Eastern European countries, especially Romania and Bulgaria. Many had little or no command of the English language, and they were not used to speaking with their patients. Yet good communication between nurses and patients was considered vital for the health system.

The debate was moved by Viscount Bridgeman:
“To call attention to the disparity in the authorisation procedures for European economic area (EEA) and non–EEA citizens who are seeking to practise as health professionals in the United Kingdom; and to move for Papers”.

The Viscount called attention “to the disparities in the treatment of health professionals trained within the EEA and outside it”. Those coming from outside have to undergo a 20 day procedure to test their professional competency and understanding of the English language. In contrast, persons from within the EEA have the right to practice in another EEA country if their professional qualifications were of an acceptable standard. Regulators in the receiving country are not allowed to undertake further competency checks, including checking “whether practice competencies had been kept up to date or the applicant has basic communications skills in English”. And the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has to register nurses and midwives even if they have not practised for 20 years. The viscount went on to give examples where the registration process was inadequate at insuring real competency.

Lord Winston (of fertility treatment fame) also spoke in the debate. He stressed the importance of communication between staff and patients. “We run the risk of losing it with nurses who cannot speak English and who have been trained in a different way. I am particularly concerned about nurses coming from the eastern bloc of Europe –for example, from Romania or Bulgaria. Having been extensively in the far east of Europe when we were still in the Cold War with my research, I am well aware of the limited communication even in their own language that healthcare professionals had. If we are not careful we will increase that in our health service”.

Lord Kakkar also spoke of his concerns. He said he would confine his remarks to medical practitioners and said he was interested in the debate as a practising surgeon. He went on to say:
“For practitioners who have qualified outside the European Union, the situation is clear: our national regulatory body, the General Medical Council, is obliged to test their language skills and competency and is fully entitled to inquire into the content and quality of their medical education and training. For practitioners from the European Union, this is not the case: the GMC is not able to test language skills, is unable to make an assessment of their competency and is unable to inquire into their training and education. Clearly this is not acceptable, but the situation is worse even than that because, for practitioners who are registered elsewhere in the European Union and who, as we have heard, are entitled to come to the United Kingdom and practise, and for whom the General Medical Council is obliged to provide the opportunity for automatic registration, there is no obligation on the part of their home regulatory bodies to report any concerns that they may have about the practice of the individual - whether they have been suspended or whether there are any inquiries into their practice. That is an intolerable situation. It is not right for fellow practitioners who have to work with these individuals, but most of all it is not right for the citizens of our country who, at times when they are unwell and are becoming patients in our healthcare system, need to be absolutely certain that the practitioners to whom they are exposed are competent, meet the standards required of medical practitioners in our country and therefore can, with certainty, provide the quality of care that citizens in our country deserve”.

As usual, Hansard reported verbatim on the debate:

As expected, the media reported the same day on the debate. Both the Telegraph and Dail Mail newspapers had reports on it, both focusing on what Lord Winston had said in the debate. The Daily Mail added an interesting point, claiming that as far as nurses are concerned, the number registering in Britain doubled since previously enforced strict checks on language and other skills had been scrapped last October.

“Nurses who can't speak English put patients in danger: Lord Winston's stark warning over NHS workers from Romania and Bulgaria”.
Daily Mail
“Lord Winston's fears over poor English of foreign nurses”.

1st September 2011.
“Immigration is a Major Factor in the Housing Shortage”.

“A study published by Migrationwatch today ( Briefing Paper No 7.13 ), finds that immigration was responsible for almost 40% of the growth in households between 2001 and 2008.

“Looking ahead, 36% of new households will, according to official projections, be a result of immigration so we will have to build, on average, 200 homes a day for the next 25 years just to house the extra population arising from immigration.

“Even if house building were to increase by 25% over the current level to 200,000 a year, there would be a shortage of around 800,000 homes by 2033 – equivalent to the number of homes in Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Nottingham combined.

“Commenting, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migrationwatch UK, said:

“'As we saw earlier this week political correctness has dictated that the construction and planning industry should not refer to the massive impact of immigration on housing. It is not, of course, the only factor in household formation but it is a major factor accounting for 36% of new households over the next 25 years. It is also one of the few factors that the government ought to be able to control. It is high time that we faced up to the huge impact of immigration on housing and to the severe consequences for our environment of continued mass immigration'”.

Press Release
Migration Watch UK
See also:
Briefing paper 7.13. Migration and the Demand for Housing in England
Migration Watch UK

Intellectual copyright remains the property of MigrationWatch UK © 2001 MigrationWatch UK. All rights reserved.

25th August 2011.
UK. Migration Statistics Quarterly Report August 2011.

This Office for National Statistics (ONS) document give information for the year ending December 2010 (with some comparisons with earlier years).

Perhaps the most interesting facts are that total long-term emigration was 336,000, its lowest number since June 2005, but total immigration was massive – 575,000, i.e. over half a million.

The following list gives main estimates.

  • Total long-term international immigration: 575,000, with little change since 2004.
  • Total long-term international emigration: 336,000. This has declined since the year to December 2008 (427,000).
  • Net long-term international migration to the UK: 239,000, a 21 per cent increase on the year to December 2009 (198,000).
  • The most common reason for migrating to the UK since 2009 was study and a little over three quarters (78 per cent) of the immigrants were from outside the EU.
  • The number of people migrating to the UK for a definite job was 110,00, the lowest level since March 2004. The peak was 168,000 in 2008.
  • Net migration of citizens from A8 countries was 39,000, compared with 5,000 in the year ending December 2009. This increase was due to a rise in immigration to the UK and a fall in emigration from the UK.


25th August 2011.
“Polish People in the UK. Half a million Polish Residents”.

“Since Poland and seven other central and Eastern European countries (collectively known as the A8) joined the EU in May 2004 around 66 per cent of all A8 citizens migrating to the UK have been Polish citizens. Between the year ending December 2003 and the year ending December 2010 the Polish–born population of the UK increased from 75,000 to 532,000.

More recently immigration of Polish people has declined. Immigration was highest in 2007 at 96,000 Polish citizens, but this declined to 39,000 in 2009. Emigration has also decreased from 54,000 to 29,000 over the same time period.

The Polish–born population is widely spread across the UK. In the year ending December 2010 they were one of the three largest non–UK born population groups in all countries and most regions of the UK. London had 122,000 Polish–born residents, 23 per cent of the UK total.

Of the Polish–born population in the UK in the year ending December 2010, 86 per cent were aged 16 to 64, compared to the mid–2009 estimate of 65 per cent for the UK population as a whole. This situation is very different from 2003, before Poland joined the EU, when only 55 per cent of Polish–born people in the UK were aged 16 to 64.

In the second quarter of 2011 the number of Polish-born people aged 16 plus working in the UK was 449,888, an increase of around 60,000 on the previous quarter. In the second quarter of 2011 an estimated 84.6 per cent of Poles aged 16 to 64 were in employment, compared with a rate of 70.4 per cent for the UK as a whole. The unemployment rate among Polish-born people aged 16 plus during the same period was 5.5 per cent, compared with a UK unemployment rate of 7.8 per cent (both not seasonally adjusted)”.

Source: Office for National Statistics ONS).

25th August 2011.

“Net migration total up by a fifth…”. So reads the title of a BBC item.
This title may give the wrong impression, suggesting that immigration to the UK has risen by a fifth, which is quite a lot. But it is not as simple as that.

'Net migration' is the balance between gross immigration and gross emigration. Bearing this fact in mind, we can see that net immigration might rise because gross immigration increased, while net emigration remained constant, or net immigration might rise despite gross immigration not changing, because gross emigration decreased! (Of course there are intermediate situations). And in fact, as the table below shows, the latter situation is what has been happening in the UK. Gross immigration has fluctuated, but not shown any decided increase trend, while gross emigration has shown a decreasing trend.

Year ending Inflow Outflow Net
Dec 08 590 427 163
Dec 09 567 368 198
Dec 10 575 336 239

Now work is the main reason for emigration, so one reason for the decrease in net migration is the economic circustances in other countries relative to the circumstances in the UK.

Source. Office of National Statistics (ONS).

See aslo:

13th August 2011.
“London Riots 2011: Lessons From France 2005.”

Palash R. Ghosh in the International Business Times (IBT), gives an opinion on the causes of the riots.

Ghosh notes that not just in London, but also across England, the disturbances have some resemblances to the disturbances in France six years ago.

Both in England and in France “a large group of disaffected, poor youths (including many immigrants) took out their frustrations against” what seemed to them to be “a daunting establishment structure designed to keep them in poverty”. He states that lack of integration of immigrants, racism and “police brutality” “played key roles” in both countries.


12th August 2011.
“Econmic turmoil taking its toll on childbearing”.

In the USA it looks as if the bad state of the economy is having the effect of causing women to have fewer children. Thus the total number of births fell from a record high in 2007 of 4.3 million, to 4 million in 2010, a fall of 7%. And estimates of Total Fertility Rates have the value of 2.13 births per 1,000 women in 2007 dropping to 1.91 births in 2010. NB. We add, this is a fall from above replacement level to below replacement level fertility. One worker adds that the critical causal factor seems to be the level of employment amongst young adults.

A similarity with the changes in the Great Depression of the 1930's was also noted, for in both periods the number of middle-aged women who were childless seems to have fallen in a similar way.

Early August 2011.
Riots in London and elsewhere.

An incident on the 4th of August in Tottenham, London, involving specialist members of the Metropolitan Police, in which one gangster was killed and a police officer wounded, escalated into a riot which left many officers injured, many rioters arrested, buildings looted and vehicles set alight.

Since then violence with buildings set on fire and looting has spread to some other parts of London and four other cities, and smaller disturbances in Leeds and towns in Kent.

7th August. “London riots: Dozens injured after Tottenham violence.”
7th August. “London riots: Timeline and map of violence.”
7th August. “Pictured: The 'gangsta' gunman killed in shoot-out with police whose death sparked riots.”
Daily Mail
9th August. “Violence, rioting and looting breaks out across England.”

4th August 2011.
“Too Many Immigrants?”

Here is a poll summary from Ipsos MORI:

“Seven in ten (71%) Britons say there are too many immigrants in the country and just a quarter (27%) believe immigration is good for the economy according to new research from Ipsos MORI.

The latest Global @dvisor survey conducted in 23 countries shows that only Russians are more likely than Britons to agree that there are too many immigrants in their country (77% do so). Other countries with similarly high levels of agreement are Belgium (72%), Italy (67%), Spain (67%) and South Africa (66%). The Japanese are the happiest with their current level of immigration – just 15% think there are too many immigrants.

Immigration has also raised other concerns – three quarters (76%) of Britons agree that immigration has placed too much pressure on public services while three in five (62%) agree that immigration has made it more difficult for British people to get jobs. Concern about the stress placed on public services by immigration is higher in Britain than any of the other countries included in this survey.

Immigration is most positively seen in Brazil where half (49%) agree that immigrants make their country a more interesting place to live and a similar number (47%) believe immigration is good for the economy of Brazil. Around three in ten Britons say the same (33% and 27%) respectively.

A spokesman for Ipsos MORI said:

'Clearly people in Britain are concerned how immigration is affecting their employment opportunities; the strain on public services; and impact on a sluggish economy. These concerns are also reflected in many countries around the world'”.

The following link gives the above statement and also the technical details of the poll.
Ipsos MORI

Late July 2011.
Norway attacker says he acted to save Europe from a Muslim takeover and cultural Marxism.

For a few days, the attacks in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik that left some government buildings in Oslo badly damaged and many young people attending a labour party youth camp on a nearby Island massacred, were headline news in the media.

Breivik is a Norwegian, of Norwegian stock. And his motives seem now to have been revealed during interrogation and particularly in a document he wrote before the attacks.

Basically he sees Europe lacking confidence in its own culture and under threat by 'cultural Marxists' and Muslim immigrants and their descendants. And he thinks a Muslim take over of Europe is underway. He regards the governing Labour party in Norway as having liberal immigration policies that promote this take–over. It was necessary in his view, to carry out a massive attack with many casualties in order to shake people and governments out of their complacency over such demographic changes. In addition, he thinks of Islam as oppressing Jews.

As expected, there was a total revulsion against Breivik, his ideology and the killings, by the Norwegian public and government, a revulsion that spilled over across the Western world. People regarded the killings as something that could not under any circumstances be regarded as justifiable. However, leaving aside the murders, we do note, as we have elsewhere pointed out, there are demographic changes taking place in Europe against the background of a certain ideology that holds to cultural relativism and multiculturalism, which possibly could end up with an Islamic take–over in Europe.

Here are a few informative links. The Reuters little piece is accompanied by a video.


20th July 2011.
Holland: Trial of a new method to catch illegal immigrants.

There are many illegal immigrants in European countries, and for years national publics have been very concerned about this, and governments have never really got on top of the problem. But now the Dutch government is making a trial of a method already tried out in the USA, to help in combating the problem more effectively.

The Dutch government has a fingerprint database of all legal immigrants. And they have issued a fingerprint recording machine to 125 police officers, who will stop suspected illegal immigrants and take their fingerprints. These fingerprints will then be checked against the data base.
Voice of America
Dayton Daily News

7th July 2011.
“Sarkozy's party to clamp down on legal immigration”

7th July 2011.
Demography of a major famine.

The widespread famine in eastern Africa has been highlighted in the media. The Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) succinctly covers the issue in its appeal for funds.The DEC appeal notes:

  • More than 10 million people in East Africa are in regions suffering the worst drought in over half a century.
  • Large areas of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia are affected and the DEC appeal will also include South Sudan – set to become the world's newest country on July 9th.
  • The people in these areas “have seen their lives fall apart – crops, livestock and now their homes have been taken by the drought”. “They've been left with no alternative but to seek shelter and life–saving help elsewhere”.
  • More than 1,300 people a day, the majority of them children, are arriving in the Dadaab refugee camp in eastern Kenya near the border with Somalia. The Dadaab camp was already the world's largest refugee camp with a population of 350,000 – larger than the city of Leicester.

“DEC announces East Africa Crisis Appeal”.

6th July 2011.
A major demographic event revealed and reported in the media.

The book “Mao's Great Famine: The history of China's most devastating catastrophe, 1958–62”, by the Dutch academic Frank Dikðtter, has become a talking point, at least for a day or two.

Frank Dikðtter, after examining China's archives recently reopened, concluded that 45 million people were worked, starved or beaten to death in this brief period of China's history. It is a truly awful story.

Actually, we now find that this book or one very similar was available nearly a year ago – see the Independent newspaper article below, which briefly rehearses the details of the barbaric methods of “State retribution”.

“Samuel Johnson prize won by ' hugely important' study of Mao”.
“Mao's Great Leap Forward ' killed 45 million in four years' ”.

30th June 2011.
UK. Over half of new jobs go to foreigners.

Over half of new jobs in the last year went to foreigners, and most jobs in the period 1997 to 2010 were taken by people not born in the UK. Indeed according to the Guardian, the Labour MP Frank Field found official figures showing that in the first year of the Coalition Government, 87% of jobs created went to foreigners.

And now the Work and Pensions Secretary, Ian Duncan Smith in a speech in Spain, urges UK businesses to make more effort to recruit new employees from the young unemployed people of the UK.

“Duncan Smith urges firms to hire unemployed Britons”.
“Iain Duncan Smith appeals to businesses to employ young Britons”.
“Minister who dares to speak the truth: IDS exposes Cabinet tension, warning the majority of jobs created in Britain go to foreigners”.
Daily Mail

30th June 2011.
“Population Change. UK population increases by 470,000”.

The population of the UK was 62,262,000 in mid–2010. This is an increase of 470,000 (0.8 per cent) on mid–2009.

Population growth has increased over recent decades; this latest increase compares with an average annual growth of 0.6 per cent since 2001; 0.3 per cent per year between 1991 and 2001; and 0.2 per cent per year between 1981 and 1991”.

NB. Population change has two components: Natural change (the difference between total births and total deaths) and net migration (the difference between gross long term immigration and gross long term emigration).

“Natural change was the largest contributor to population growth until the year to mid–1999 and more recently between the years to mid–2008 and mid–2010. Between these periods, net migration was the main driver of population change. In the year to mid–2002, net migration accounted for 70 per cent of the total population change.

Since 2002, natural change has accounted for an increasing proportion of total population change; in the year to mid–2010 it accounted for just over half of total population growth (52 per cent).

“… natural change contributed 243,000 to population growth in the year to mid–2010, an increase of 26,000 from the year to mid–2009. The overall increase in natural change since mid–2002 is mainly attributable to a growth in the number of births, although a decrease in the numbers of deaths over this period has also played a part.

The number of births has increased partly due to rising fertility among UK born women and partly because there are more women of childbearing ages due to inflows of female migrants to the UK. There were 134,000 more births in the year to mid–2010 than in the year to mid–2002, when natural change was at its lowest.

In comparison, net migration contributed 230,000 to population growth in the year to mid–2010, an increase of 31 per cent on the year to mid–2009. This is mainly attributable to a decrease in long–term migration out of the UK”.


See also the article “UK population growing at fastest rate for 50 years” in the Telegraph newspaper.

29thJune 2011.
Two examples of the failure of the British immigration system.

The first case was an anti–Semitic preacher Raed Salah who was able to pass through Heathrow airport and was later seen smiling in the streets of Leicester despite the fact that he was banned from entry by the Home Secretary. Guards had failed to spot him. However he was later arrested by Scotland Yard officers and Border Agency officials under instruction by Theresa May, the Home Secretary.

The second case concerned 200 Somali criminals who were to be deported back to Somalia, but European Judges blocked this move on the grounds that they might be persecuted in Somalia.

Read more:
Daily Mail
London Evening Standard

23rd June 2011.
“EU A8 nationals are largest group among short-term migrant workers”.

“Short-term migrants are those who enter or leave the UK for more than one month but less than a year.

“The analysis has found that short-term international migrants accounted for a significant part of the migrant workforce in England and Wales between mid-2004 and mid-2009 (the latest year for which figures are available). The data show that short-term worker immigration of A8 nationals actually peaked in 2006, and declined thereafter. However in mid-2009 they still represented 44 per cent of all short-term migrant workers”.

Source: Office of National Statistics.

20th June 2011.
“Off Target: Government policies are not on track to reducing net–migration to the tens of thousands by 2015”.

Since the election, government officials have re–affirmed the pledge made by the Conservative Party before the election, to reduce net migration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands. Now the Migration Observatory (MO) has examined the present situation together with government impact assessments of aspects of immigration since the election, in an effort to assess whether or not the government's pledge will be fulfilled.

Since immigration of European Union (EU) citizens cannot, according to EU law, be reduced by the UK government, any reductions will have to be made to non–EU immigration. Here the government has three inflow reduction options – 1) students, 2) workers and 3) family dependants. Now the Migratory Advisory Committee (MAC) has made proposals on the required reductions in the contributions of these three routes to achieve a net immigration of less than 100,000, arguing the cuts should be proportional to the actual contributions of the three routes to total net immigration in recent times, which were 60% for route 1 (students), and 20% for each of the other routes in 2009.

Using the latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) total net migration estimate for the year ending September 2010, namely 242,000, MO estimates net migration must be reduced by a total of 142,000 if it is to attain its reduction target. So proportionate reductions as MAC recommended would assign reductions as follows: Students: 85,200 (60%), Work and family, each 28,400 (20%),making a total of 142,000.
However, MO argues that if an assumption is made that in the absence of any policy changes, net migration will continue to increase during the next few years, the required overall reduction required would be in excess of 142,000. if the government's target of tens of thousands is to be achieved by 2015.

Now MO's estimates of actual reductions in the three categories, partly based on government impact assessments for the students and worker categories suggests that none of the three routes will give the required reductions. What's more total net migration also depends on how migration of British and other EU nationals develops in the future, something over which the British government has no control. There is a possibility that further restrictions in non–EU immigration to the UK might lead to an increase in EU migration to the UK. Read a summary of the MO report:


20th June 2011.
Ocean life under very severe threat.

An International Earth system expert group workshop on ocean stresses and impacts, sponsored by various organisations (ipso, IUCN, WCPA) has issued a stark warning. Key points are as follows:

  • “Human actions have resulted in warming and acidification of the oceans and are now causing increased hypoxia *.
  • The speeds of many negative changes to the ocean are near to or are tracking the worst-case scenarios from IPPC and other predictions. Some are as predicted, but many are faster than anticipated, and many are still accelerating.**
  • The magnitude of the cumulative impacts on the ocean is greater than previously understood.
  • Timelines for action are shrinking.
  • Resilience of the ocean to climate change impacts is severely compromised by the other stressors from human activities, including fisheries, pollution and habitat destruction.
  • Ecosystem collapse is occurring as a result of both current and emerging stressors.
  • The extinction threat to many spieces is increasing.”

*Hypoxia means a shortage of oxygen needed by the tissues of animals. Hypoxic waters have very low dissolved oxygen concentrations. Hypoxia can be caused by a variety of factors, including excess nutrients, primarily nitrogen and phosphorus, and waterbody stratification due to saline or temperature gradients. Nutrient excess promotes excessive growth of algae. As the algae die and decompose, oxygen is consumed, causing the death of other organisms.
**For example, the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice-sheets has accelerated. Read about it using the following link.
ipso; IUCN; WCPA

See also:
“World's oceans in 'shocking' decline”.

17th June 2011.
England. An exceptionally dry spring and its effects.

England has suffered its driest Spring for a century, with parts of East Anglia and East Midlands most affected. This is stressing plants and that reduces crop yields severely. And there are fears that the prices of many foods will go up. River levels have fallen, and in some places, stretches of rivers have dried up.

6th and 7th June 2011.
UK government launches its revised 'Prevent' counter–terrorism strategy.

The threat of terrorism remains high in the UK. And this revised Prevent strategy is designed to deal with all forms of terrorism. So its terms of reference include dealing not only with violent extremism, but also with non–violent extremism.

Theresa May (Home Secretary) said:
“Prevent is an integral part of our counter–terrorism strategy and aims to stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.
“Our new Prevent strategy will challenge extremist ideology, help protect institutions from extremists, and tackle the radicalisation of vulnerable people. And we will not fund or work with organisations that do not subscribe to the core values of our society.
“Above all, it will tackle the threat from home-grown terrorism.”

Home Office

See also:
“Universities 'complacent on extremism' – Theresa May.”
“Report Reveals Muslim Extremists are Targeting U.K. Universities”.
“Christian Post
“Home Secretary warns universities have been 'complacent' about jihadist indoctrination”.
Jihad Watch

See also an earlier warning (28th April) from the UK parliament.
“Campus extremism 'a serious problem' say MPs and peers”.

2nd June 2011.
Estimatng the costs of what we take from Nature.

Nature provides us with many goods and services. But these come at a cost and most of these costs have in the past been ignored, indeed the costs were not known for intangible things like clean air and water, and cultural services. And costs go on rising, which is not surprising because the human population continues to grow as does per capita consumption.

Now the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has tackled this issue and produced a major report, called the “National Ecosystem Assessment”. The numerous chapters of this report will soon be published but a news release and a synthesis of key findings are now available.

This synthesis document says:
“The natural world, its biodiversity and its constituent ecosystems are critically important to our well–being and economic prosperity, but are consistently undervalued in conventional economic analyses and decision making. Ecosystems and the services they deliver underpin our very existence. We depend on them to produce our food, regulate water supplies and climate, and breakdown waste products. We also value them in less obvious ways: contact with nature gives pleasure, provides recreation and is known to have a positive impact on long-term health and happiness”.

“UK National Ecosystem Assessment”.

“Synthesis of the key findings”.
See also the BBC News item:
“Nature 'is worth billions' to UK”. By Richard Black Environment correspondent.

2nd June 2011.
“UK Border Agency failing to control immigration, say MPs”.

In a report published today, the UK Parliament's House of Commons Home Affairs Committee criticises the lack of progress made by the UK Border Agency in effectively controlling immigration to the UK.

In the second of what is intended to be a series of reports on the Agency's work, the Committee raises serious concerns about the way the Agency approaches enforcement across the range of its activities:

  • 403,500 of the backlog of approximately 450,000 asylum cases have now been concluded, but the Committee notes that while only 38,000 (9%) of the applicants have had their claims rejected and subsequently been removed from the UK, 161,000 (40%) have been given leave to remain – such a large proportion that it amounts in effect to an amnesty – and as many as 74,500 cases are being achieved as the applicants cannot be found and it is unknown whether they are in the UK, have left the country voluntarily or are dead;
  • The e–Borders scheme – which has been the lynch–pin of successive Government's programmes for controlling the UK's borders – is still running significantly behind timetable and the Agency is pursuing a claim against the previous IT contractor who was dismissed for contract breaches after being paid £188 million;
  • The Agency has not carried out checks on all those employers registered as sponsors of skilled migrants, it does not systematically follow up intelligence of possible illegal migrants and there are grave doubts whether it has even the capacity to carry out the checks on sponsors and individuals.

According to MPs, the net result is that a very large number of people remain in the UK who either have no right to be here or who would have been removed had their cases been dealt with in a timely manner.

Rt. Hon Keith Vaz, Chairman of the Committee said:

“Though progress has been made it is clear that the UK Border Agency is still not fit for purpose. While there is no doubt that individual case workers are dedicated and hard-working, there are serious concerns over the agency's ability to deal with cases and respond to intelligence swiftly and thoroughly.

The Government is set on reducing immigration to the tens of thousands and effectively controlling immigration. It will have to ensure that the UK Border Agency begins to focus on the outcome rather than the processes of their work. It is disappointing that it is still without a permanent head after five months.

The processes need to be efficient and fair in dealing with genuine students and those filling skills shortages, but tough and uncompromising to those who seek to abuse the system and stay illegally.”

Home Affairs Committee

See also:
“Asylum seekers 'granted amnesty' by UK Border Agency.
Asylum seeker 'amnesty' condemned. So many asylum seekers have been given leave to remain in the UK that it effectively 'amounts to an amnesty', a committee of MPs says”.

Parliamentary material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO on behalf of Parliament.

26th May 2011.
New report on UK migration. Here is the Press Release (without background notes) from the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Net migration rises to 242,000.

Date: 26 May 2011 Coverage: UK Theme: Population & Migration.

Net migration has increased over the last year to 242,000, according to figures released today from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Latest provisional figures for the year ending September 2010 show that net migration of 242,000 is at its highest level since the year ending June 2005, where it reached 260,000.

This increase in net migration is driven by a fall in emigration, which was 344,000 in the year to September 2010, a decrease of 20 per cent from its peak of 427,000 in the year ending December 2008. Over the same time period, immigration has remained steady at 586,000 in the year to September 2010, which is similar to 590,000 in the year ending December 2008.

Net migration of non EU citizens has increased by a third since the year ending September 2009 from 161,000 to 215,000 in the year ending September 2010. This has been driven by both a rise in immigration from 274,000 to 312,000 and a fall in emigration from 113,000 to 97,000.

Net migration of citizens from A8 countries has increased to 43,000, a rise of 55,000 from a net emigration of -12,000 seen in the year ending September 2009. This is due to both a rise in immigration from 45,000 to 72,000, and a fall in emigration from 57,000 to 29,000. Net migration of A8 citizens is now at the same level seen in the year ending September 2008.

Immigration for formal study has continued to rise to 241,000. This is an increase of 30 per cent from 185,000 arriving for formal study in the year ending September 2009.

Final figures for 2010 will be published on 24 November 2011.

Crown copyright 2011.

For the full report see:

19th and 20th May 2011.
“With Intelligent Approach Focused on Positive, Unstoppable Force of Migration Can Be Harnessed for Greater Good, Secretary–General Tells Informal Thematic Debate”.

The UN Secretary–General Ban Ki–moon spoke to the General Assembly's informal interactive thematic debate on migration and development, 19 May, in New York. Here are some of the points he made in his address.

He indicated that he had constantly advocated migrants' rights when he talked to world leaders. He was particularly concerned because very often, the migrants involved are very vulnerable people. “The historic changes in the Arab world are raising high hopes”. But, they also show how difficult it is “to protect migrants when a crisis hits. Thousands are fleeing violence in Libya, they are crossing deserts, taking to the seas on unsafe boats, risking their lives to reach safety. Many rich countries, neighbouring countries and countries of origin all have shared responsibilities. From the very beginning, I have urged Governments to keep borders open and not unduly restrict migration”.

He also spoke of the “growing business in human trafficking. Most reprehensible is the sex trade in women and even children. These victims are among the most vulnerable people on earth. They have no papers, no protection and no way out. They need our help. The global economic crisis has compounded all these problems. Increasingly, we see extremist politicians targeting migrants and migration to deflect attention from national problems. This creates more discrimination, more fear and more problems”.

But he also spoke of positive features of migration. While developing countries are concerned about the “brain drain”, almost two–thirds of the millions of migrants actually live in wealthy countries and the remittances these people send home are helping the home countries to help their own people, indeed “Remittances underwrite development. They are a source for stability and social cohesion”. But “We still need to do more” so we need to improve global cooperation. “That is why the Global Forum is so important”.

United nations.
See also “UN General Assembly debates international migration and development” that gives information about the informal debate itself.
ABC Live

18th May 2011.
Office for National Statistics (ONS): “Statistical Bulletin. Population Estimates by Ethnic Group 2002 – 2009”.

“New population estimates by ethnic group for England and Wales indicate that the majority White: British group has stayed constant in size between 2001 and 2009 while the population belonging to other groups has risen by around 2.5 million to 9.1 million over the period – about one in six of the population”.

However, table 1 which gives details for all 16 ethnic categories shows that with the three White categories between 2001 and 2009 while the the White: British category has remained roughly the same size (actually a small decrease), the White: Irish population decreased by 1.5% and the White: Other White category increased by 4.3%.

With the non–White Groups, with the notable exception of the Black Caribbean group (0.9%), the growth varied between 3.2% and 8.6% between 2001 and 2009. The mean increase for all the non–'White: British' groups was 4.1%.


16th May 2011.
UK Parliament. The work of the UK Border Agency. Here are some of the conclusions of the Home Affairs Committee.

Foreign National Prisoners.
The difficulty in tracing and then deporting released prisoners highlights the need to ensure that all eligible foreign nationals currently serving sentences are removed from the UK expeditiously and, wherever possible, are not held for long periods in prison at the taxpayers' expense when they could be deported.

Legacy asylum cases.
A minimum of 61,000 of the 400–450,000 cases – about one in seven – will eventually be concluded on the basis that the UK Border Agency has been completely unable to trace what has happened to the applicant. While we agree that the UK Border Agency should not spend unlimited time trying to track down missing applicants, we are concerned about the high proportion of cases which will be left, in effect, in limbo. Again, this points to the vital need to deal with cases as expeditiously as possible and not to let backlogs grow.

New asylum cases.
We agree that quality should not be sacrificed to speed when it comes to decision-making. From the cases we see as constituency members, much of the delay in concluding asylum and other immigration cases stems from poor quality decision–making when the application is initially considered. We recognise the progress made over the last few years in relation to new procedures and approaches, but we consider that the UK Border Agency still has room for improvement. More consistent and rigorous scrutiny of applications would lead to fewer delays, fewer appeals, less uncertainty for the applicant, less pressure on the officials themselves, and probably lower costs for the UK taxpayer. This may well require greater investment in staff training. It is also likely to require more consistent and considered direction from those setting policy for the Agency than has sometimes been the case.

Enforced removals from the UK.
We are not at all convinced that the UK Border Agency is being effective in making sure that its contractors provide adequate training and supervision of their employees in respect of the use of force. This is a fundamental responsibility of the Agency and is not simply a matter of clauses in contracts or formal procedural requirements. We also note that the risk assessment which has to accompany the person being removed (a copy of which was provided to the Committee) is concerned principally with the possible risks of the deportee absconding or offering violence to the accompanying officials, rather than risks of harm to the deportee him/herself. It is not clear whether the very short section on the deportee's medical condition, which has to be filled in by a qualified medical practitioner, would be completed in such a way as to be understood by a layman, such as an escorting officer: would it, for example, be obvious that the deportee's underlying heart condition or other complaint might make some types of physical restraint potentially lethal? We look forward to the Government's responses to our concerns.

Immigration statistics.
We consider that it would help both those engaged in the formation of immigration policy and the general public seeking to understand it, if the Government – and indeed others – were to adopt a clear set of criteria for the measurement of inflows to and outflows from the UK (whether, for example, they include UK citizens, whether they relate to those settling in the UK and, if so, for how long, and so on) and to use only figures that meet these criteria when discussing migration, asylum and related policies. We also note that unless and until the UK has records of all those entering the country and leaving the country, many of the uncertainties highlighted in this Report will continue into the future.

The response of the Government to these point can be read in the report accessed from the following link:
UK Parliament.

Parliamentary material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO on behalf of Parliament.

15th May 2011.
“Europe and immigration are vital issues, so let's discuss them. Telegraph View: The voters want a debate on Europe's influence, and the Government should let them have it”.

This article speaks of the nation state, stating that this “welds together” people sharing “a common history, culture and language”.
The problem is that the EU has been promoting closer union of the European states, including harmonising laws (and by implication over–riding the legal differences between states). But, the Telegraph claims, the European vision propagated is not actually shared by the voters in the different states.

The article goes on to discuss controversy over the Schengen agreement and the debt crisis of peripheral euro zone members, a poll the newspaper has published that shows British people want a debate on the future of the European Union, the European Convention on Human rights that stops us deporting criminals we wish to be rid of, and the attitude of the two political parties at present in power in the UK.

We add the comment that we are very concerned about what seems to us to be a belittling of our national heritage in our country, the UK. At the same time we think this heritage, although no doubt including some national or regional features, is primarily the great European Heritage.

12th May 2011.
“Humanity can and must do more with less”: United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) Report.

Here is the Press Release about the report.

New York/ Nairobi, 12 May 2011 – By 2050, humanity could consume an estimated 140 billion tons of minerals, ores, fossil fuels and biomass per year – three times its current appetite – unless the economic growth rate is “decoupled” from the rate of natural resource consumption, warns a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme.

Developed countries citizens consume an average of 16 tons of those four key resources per capita (ranging up to 40 or more tons per person in some developed countries). By comparison, the average person in India today consumes four tons per year.

With the growth of both population and prosperity, especially in developing countries, the prospect of much higher resource consumption levels is “far beyond what is likely sustainable” if realized at all given finite world resources, warns the report by UNEP's International Resource Panel.

Already the world is running out of cheap and high quality sources of some essential materials such as oil, copper and gold, the supplies of which, in turn, require ever–rising volumes of fossil fuels and freshwater to produce.

Improving the rate of resource productivity (“doing more with less”) faster than the economic growth rate is the notion behind “decoupling”, the panel says. That goal, however, demands an urgent rethink of the links between resource use and economic prosperity, buttressed by a massive investment in technological, financial and social innovation, to at least freeze per capita consumption in wealthy countries and help developing nations follow a more sustainable path.

The trend towards urbanization may help as well, experts note, since cities allow for economies of scale and more efficient service provision. Densely populated places consume fewer resources per capita than sparsely populated ones thanks to economies in such areas as water delivery, housing, waste management and recycling, energy use and transportation, they say.

“Decoupling makes sense on all the economic, social and environmental dials”, says UN Under Secretary–General Achim Steiner, UNEP's Executive Director.

For the full report see:

12th May 2011.
Revision of the Schengen agreement: Reaction of European nations to fears about the possibility of a massive influx of people from North Africa.

The recent unrest in Tunisia and other north African countries has resulted in an increase of people attempting to leave north Africa and enter Europe. While the exodus so far has not been massive, there are fears it might increase considerably. Once into Europe, the Schengen agreement allows unfettered travel between member states of the agreement. Now at a meeting in Brussels of European Union interior ministers, an agreement has been reached by a majority of Schengen countries to allow individual countries to re-instate border controls. However, changes to the Schengen agreement will need to be agreed by the European parliament.

Here are reports on this issue by two British Newspapers.

“Europe moves to end passport-free travel in migrant row. European interior ministers agree to 'radical revision' of Schengen amid fears of a flood of migrants from north Africa”.
“EU moves to end passport-free Schengen travel. The European Union has moved toward reversing passport free travel across the continent amid fears of migrants fleeing unrest in north Africa”.

3rd May 2011.
United Nations (UN). “World Population Prospects. The 2010 Revision”.

“The 2010 Revision of the World Population Prospects is the twenty-second round of global demographic estimates and projections undertaken by the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. The world population prospects are used widely throughout the United Nations and by many international organizations, research centers, academic researchers and the media. Press Release 3 May 2011”.

Here are a few key facts from the report:

  • It is projected that the world population will continue to grow during the present century, with the growth rate decreasing considerably during the second half of the century.
  • The 'Medium Variant Projection' has the world population growing as follows:
    mid–2011: 6.9 billion.
    2050: 9.3 billion.
    2010: 10.1 billion.
  • This projection makes the assumptions that with countries that at the moment have above replacement level fertilities, fertility will decline and in countries with below replacement level fertilities, the fertility will increase, and finally mortality decreases in all countries.
  • However, if in each country, fertility did not change from its 2005–2010 level, the population of the world could reach almost 27 billion by 2100.
    Variant projections give the following results: 'High Variant Projection', where fertility is half a child more than projected in the Medium Variant Projection, the 2100 population would be 15.8 billion. 'Low Variant Projection' where fertility is half a child below the Medium Variant Projection, the world population in 2001 could be as low as 6.2 billion, which was the size of the population at the beginning of the present century.
  • At present, “42 per cent of the world population lives in low–fertility countries, that is, countries where women are not having enough children to ensure that, on average, each woman is replaced by a daughter who survives to the age of procreation (i.e., their fertility is below replacement level). Another 40 per cent lives in intermediate–fertility countries where each woman is having, on average, between 1 and 1.5 daughters, and the remaining 18 per cent lives in high–fertility countries where the average woman has more than 1.5 daughters”.
  • If fertility of all countries reached replacement level in 2010–2015, the world population would still continue to grow during the rest of the present century to 9.1 billion in 2050 and 9.9 billion in 2100.

Details of the report can be viewed using the following link and clicking on items in the left hand column.

1st May 2011.
UK. The National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) releases a study on the macroeconomic impact of labour mobility since the accession of ten new member states to the European Union (EU).

The report notes that while the UK, Ireland and Sweden allowed immediate free access to their labour markets in 2004, other EU states imposed temporary restrictions that have now been removed. NIESR concludes that “the UK has probably benefited from the restrictions imposed by other member states, probably increasing potential UK output by 0.3–0.5 per cent.

The first of the following links is to the NIESR press release. The second link is to the BBC's News Item on the report.

For an article that considers the report shows little benefit to the economy from immigration, see the Telegraph item:
Immigration of little benefit to the economy, report concludes The British economy has failed to benefit from the influx of eastern European migrants, according to a think-tank report. Immigration of little benefit to the economy, report concludes The British economy has failed to benefit from the influx of eastern European migrants, according to a think-tank report. Telegraph

28th April 2011.
China. “Press Release on Major Figures of the 2010 National Population Census”.

Here is the opening paragraph of this communique from Ma Jiantang, Commissioner, National Bureau of Statistics of China April 28, 2011, followed by key results mentioned in the communique.

“China conducted the 6th national population census with zero hour of November 1, 2010 as the reference time. Under the correct leadership of the Central Committee of CPC and the State Council, with the strong support of relevant ministries and local governments and the close cooperation from the media, through the painstaking efforts of about 10 million census workers and the active participation of 1.3 billion people of all nationalities, the field enumeration, check and post-enumeration survey of the census has been successfully completed, and data of high quality were obtained. At this press conference, we are to release major figures through advance tabulation”.

The total population was 1,339,724,852 persons. In the past decade there was “a steady low fertility in the population growth of China ...”.
“In the 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, there were 401.52 million family households with a population of 1244.61 million persons. The average size of family households was 3.10 persons...”. Household size has been shrinking, the reasons being a “continued decline in fertility, the increase of population migration and the independent living arrangement of young couples after marriage”.

The sex composition of the population was males, 51.27 per cent, females 48.73 percemt. With age composition compared with the 2000 population, the 0–14 age group declined, while the 60 and over age group increased. So the population is ageing. The reasons for these changes were a “ great improvement in the standard of living and medical and health undertakings along with the fast economic and social development, the continued low level of fertility and the accelerated process of population aging”.
Nationalities. Han nationality: 91.51 per cent compared with 91.59 percent in the 2000 census (a slight decrease). National minorities: 8.49 compared with 8.41 per cent in the 2000 census (a slight increase).

Distribution of the population. 49.68 per cent of the population lived in urban areas, 50.32 per cent in rural areas. Since the 2000 population census the urban share of the population rose by 13.46 per cent. This increase in urbanization is the result of social and economic development. In terms of regional distribution, the eastern region had the largest population – 37.98 per cent, followed by the western region with 27.04 per cent, the central region with 26.76 per cent and the northeastern region with 8.22 per cent.

Educational attainment. Compared with the population of the 2000 census, educational attainment per 100,000 people was as folllows:
People with university education. Increase from 3611 to 8930.
People with senior secondary education. Increase from 11146 to 14032.
People with junior secondary education. Increase from 33961 to 38788.
In contrast, the number of people with primary education decreased from 35701 to 26779.
The illiterate rate (proportion of people aged over 15 who can not read) decreased from 6.72 per cent in the 2000 census to 4.08 per cent.

“Change in the educational attainment and the illiterate rate reflected the positive achievements made over the past decade in promoting 9–year compulsory education, in developing higher education and in eliminating young and mid–age illiterate population”.

National Bureau of Statistics of China.

Late April 2011.
“No Easy Options: Irregular immigration in the UK”.

This is a new report from the left leaning Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), by authors T. Finch and Myriam Cherti. It concerns what the authors choose to term 'irregular migration', but we regard this as a euphemism, since the immigrants involved are legally speaking illegal immigrants.

The authors note that the latest estimates of the total number of such immigrants in the UK, from the London School of Economics, is a massive 618,000. However, in addition one should mention those immigrants who, being legal, nevetheless engage in activities which it is illegal for them to take part in, a number that the IPPR estimate to be around 165,00. The main cause of illegal migration, according to the IPPR is 'economic self improvement'.

The report regards irregular migration as one of the most important issues for public policy. And the authors consider that action must be taken to reduce such immigration, not only because it is so massive, but because it does harm.

The authors discuss in detail the types of irregular migrants, their motivation, and the strategies they adopt to enable them to remain and work in the UK. They go on to describe the economic, social and political impacts these migrants have in the UK. They also discuss measures that can be taken to reduce irregular immigration, first before the immigrants actually arrive in the UK (through the UK's international development programme and other means) and second, after their arrival. Finally the authors also deal with measures to facilitate the return of irregular migrants to their home countries and their re-integration in those countries.

From the following link the full report may be downloaded:

21st April 2011.
Immigrants have caused a massive increase in tuberculosis in the UK.

By the middle of the recent century, most people thought that tuberculosis (TB) had finally been wiped out in the UK. Actually it had not been wiped out, but the number of cases had been reduced to a very low level. However, a dramatic rise in the number of cases of tuberculosis has taken place during the past decade and it is considered to have been caused by foreign born immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian sub-continent. Around 9,000 cases of TB are reported each year, mainly in big cities like London. But by the standard method of detection, namely chest X-rays, persons with latent infections are not noticed. Now a new test has been developed that will show up latent infections. This test is the result of collaborative work by workers at several centres in the UK. The test showed that a significant number if immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa (20 percent) and the Indian sub-continent (30 percent) had latent TB.

The following links give more information. The first two links gives information about the history of TB in the UK together with a lot of information about the disease and its management.
The third link is to an article in the journal that has now reported on this recent investigation (The Lancet Infectious Diseases). From this page, the full article can be accessed simply by registering. The final two links are to articles in news papers.

“Frequently asked questions”.
tb alert
“What is tuberculosis?”
"“Screening of immigrants in the UK for imported latent tuberculosis: a multicentre cohort study and cost-effectiveness analysis”.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases
“TB Screening 'missng most cases'”.
“TB screening misses 70% of latent cases. UK should radically change tuberculosis screening policy and include arrivals from Indian subcontinent, experts say”.

14th April 2011.
Pay–to–go schemes and other noncoercive return programmes.

A new major report has been published by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI).
This evaluates the outcome of programmes designed to encourage unauthorized immigrants to return to their home country or leave for some other country.

A general conclusion from this report is that while such schemes may theoretically be a good idea, in pactice “they have a long history of failure on the ground”.

The report is part of the 'Improving US and EU Immigration Systems' project that is funded by the European Union.

14th April 2011.
UK. Important speech by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, on the control of immigration.

The Prime Minister (PM) has made a speech that outlines how the present government will control immigration and by so doing address the public concerns about the high level of immigration and the abuse of the immigration system.

To critics who say that effective limitation of the number of immigrants is not possible because we are a part of the European Union (EU), a Union that allows free movement of people within the Union, the Prime Minister pointed out that in the year to June 2010, net immigration from the EU was small compared with net immigration from outside the EU (27,000 compared with 198,000). And last week the new immigration cap on people coming to Britain from outside the EU came into force.

The PM considers that measures being taken to limit immigration will effectively deal with abuses of the immigration system – forced marriages taking place in Britain, and sham marriages that have allowed many people to enter Britain not to secure a genuine marriage but simply to gain entry into Britain. The biggest route for non–EU entrants into the country has been the student visa route, and a lot of these students bring family members with them. Examination showed that only 25 per cent of visa applications for student dependents were genuine. Then there were colleges offering sham courses, and people who were supposed to be coming here to study but in fact were working. The PM said that the government was taking steps to stop these abuses of the immigration system.

Illegal immigration has been a serious problem for a long time. Now the government is establishing a proper border policing command as part of the National Crime Agency to deal with this problem. Then there is the often made claim that immigration is high because there are many jobs available that British people will not take, but, argued the PM, the real problem is that the welfare system had for years in effect paid British people not to work, and the previous government had failed to deal with this problem. So the government is “undertaking the biggest shake–up of the welfare system for generations… making sure that work will always pay…and ending the option of living a life on the dole when a life in work is possible”.

The full text of the speech has been made available by the Guardian newspaper:

Here are links to four other reports concerning the government's immigration strategy:
“David Cameron hits back over Vince Cable criticism”.
“Why is the BBC STILL so hideously biased on immigration?”. Andrew Green.
Daily Mail
“Immigration is neither good nor bad”. Zrinka Bralo.
“Tangled up in the net? Challenges with reducing net-migration to the tens of thousands”.
Migration Observatory

6th April 2011.
UK. Permanent cap on immigration starts, and how this will make it much more difficult for government and employers to take the easy option of bringing in immigrants rather than training existing UK residents – a self–reliance policy we have always advocated.

“First annual limit on non–EU workers comes into force to reduce immigration into the UK”.

“The first major change to reduce immigration into the UK has been delivered today, as the government's new annual limit comes into force.

This, along with radical changes recently introduced to the student route and plans to tackle permanent settlement, will see net migration fall back down to the tens of thousands.

Under the annual limit, employers will be able to bring only 20,700 people from outside the EU to work in skilled professions under Tier 2 (General) of the points–based system. A further 1,000 visas will be made available to people of 'exceptional talent', to ensure that Britain remains open to the brightest and the best.

The 1,000 exceptional talent visas will be given to those who experts believe will make the biggest contribution to science and the arts in the UK.

To ensure that only those with the skills we need can come to the UK to work, prospective workers will need to have a graduate–level job offer, speak an intermediate level of English and meet specific salary and employment requirements. Those earning a salary of £150,000 or more will not be subject to the limit.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said:

'The annual limit will not only help reduce immigration down to sustainable levels but will protect those businesses and institutions that are vital to our economy.

'The new system was designed in consultation with business. We have made clear that as the recovery continues, we need employers to look first to people who are out of work and who are already in this country.

'We are overhauling all routes of entry to tackle abuses, make the system more effective and bring net migration back down to the tens of thousands.'

The Intra Company Transfer route (ICT), which is not part of the annual limit, will also be changed in 3 ways:

  • the job will have to be in an occupation on the graduate occupation list;
  • only those paid £40,000 or more will be able to stay for more than a year – they will be given permission to stay for 3 years, with the possibility of extending for a further 2 years; and
  • those paid between £24,000 and £40,000 will be allowed to come to the UK for no longer than 12 months, at which point they must leave the UK and will not be able to re–apply for 12 months.
    Also, from today, Tier 1 of the points–based system will be restricted to all but entrepreneurs, investors and people of exceptional talent as the old Tier 1 (General) category has been completely abolished due to widespread evidence of abuse.

The 'Exceptional Talent' route will be open to current and prospective leaders in the fields of science, engineering and the arts and will allow us to continue to facilitate those who have the most to offer the UK.

Under the new visa rules for investors, those who invest large sums of money will see their right to settle permanently in the UK speed up. Those who invest £5 million will be allowed to settle here after 3 years, and those investing £10 million or more will be allowed to settle after 2 years. This compares with the minimum 5–year requirement that is currently in place. Entrepreneurs will also be able to settle in the UK more quickly, if they create 10 jobs or turn over £5 million in a 3-year period ”.

Home Office

The Immigration Minister told the Telegraph that the previous government (Labour) had made it too easy for government and business to rely on immigrants rather than skilled workers already in the country. He also denied that the limit would damage the ability of business to find employees.


29th and 30th March 2011.
Launch of Oxford University's Migration Observatory.

The Migration Observatory (M.O.) is "a major new initiative aimed at helping to inform the public debate on migration and immigration".
“The Observatory – a project of the University's Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) – provides clear, authoritative and independent analysis of data on migrants and migration issues in the UK, set in an international context”.
“The observatory has no political agenda, and draws on expertise from across a number of disciplines at Oxford University, with contributions from specialists in economics, law, criminology, demography, sociology, political science and many other subjects”. Oxford University

The Home Page of the M.O. is at:
Migration Observatory

28th February 2011.
Too many immigrants are bad for the UK: A Poll sparks a far-right fear.

A poll commissioned by the Searchlight Educational Trust and carried out by the polling firm Populus, found that nearly two–thirds of White British people thought immigration had been bad for the UK and perhaps surprisingly, nearly half of the British Muslims in the poll felt the same.

Daily Star
The National
Fear and Hope

24th February 2011.
Polish people in the UK. Half a million Polish–born residents.

Since Poland and seven other central and Eastern European countries (collectively known as the A8) joined the EU in May 2004 around 69 per cent of all A8 citizens migrating to the UK have been Polish citizens. Between the year ending December 2003 and the year ending June 2010 the Polish–born population of the UK increased from 75,000 to 520,000.

More recently immigration of Polish people has declined. Immigration was highest in 2007 at 96,000 Polish citizens, but this declined to 39,000 in 2009. Emigration has also decreased from 54,000 to 29,000 over the same time period.

The Polish–born population is widely spread across the UK. In the year ending June 2010 they were one of the three largest non–UK born population groups in all countries and regions of the UK. London had 122,000 Polish–born residents, 23 per cent of the UK total.


24th February 2011.
“Migration Statistics Quarterly Report No 8: February 2011” released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The LTIM and IPS datasets use the UN definition of a long–term international migrant being someone who moves from their country of previous residence for a period of at least a year. The latest provisional LTIM and IPS data suggest:

  • Estimated total long–term immigration to the UK in the year to June 2010 was 572,000, similar to the level seen since 2004.
  • Estimated total long–term emigration from the UK in the year to June 2010 was 346,000. This has declined since the year to December 2008, when total emigration from the UK was estimated at 427,000.
  • Based on the provisional IPS component of LTIM for the year to June 2010, estimated long–term emigration of British citizens has declined by 31 per cent since the year to December 2008.
  • Estimated net long–term migration to the UK in the year to June 2010 was 226,000. This continues the increase since the year to December 2008, when net migration was 163,000. The rise has primarily been driven by the recent fall in emigration.
  • Based on the provisional IPS component of LTIM for the year to June 2010, immigration to the UK for work–related reasons was little changed on the year to June 2009, but immigration for formal study had increased by 41 per cent.

The main component of LTIM (both provisional and final versions) is the IPS estimates. However, to create LTIM the IPS estimates are adjusted to take account of:

  • people whose length of stay changes from their original intentions
  • additional information on international migration to and from Northern Ireland
  • asylum seekers

The 'International Passenger Survey' (IPS) is a survey of a random sample of passengers entering and leaving the UK by air, sea or the Channel Tunnel. Over a quarter of a million face–to–face interviews are carried out each year. The IPS is carried out by ONS. The LTIM is the 'Long Term International Migration'. It corresponds to the official estimates of total migration (total immigration, total emigration, etc.)


5th February 2011.
PM calls for “shared national identity”.

The Prime Minister has identified segregation and separatism as key issues behind the threat of Islamic extremism and called for a “shared national identity”.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference this morning, Mr Cameron stressed the difference between Islam as a religion and Islamic extremism as a political ideology, and said that Western countries need to confront extremism rather than practice a “hands–off tolerance”.

The PM said that “the doctrine of state multiculturalism” had encouraged segregation and failed to supply “a vision of society” to which people want to belong.

He said:

“Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream. We have failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong. We have even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run counter to our values. “… I believe it’s time to turn the page on the failed policies of the past. So first, instead of ignoring this extremist ideology, we – as governments and societies – have got to confront it, in all its forms. And second, instead of encouraging people to live apart, we need a clear sense of shared national identity, open to everyone”.

Number 10.Gov.UK

Read the full speech:
Prime Minister's speech

Read the Telegraph article:
Muslims must embrace our British Values, David Cameron says. The Telegraph 0n line!
Telegraph Online

4th February 2011.
The 2010 Amazon drought.

An important short article on Amazonian droughts has appeared in the prestigious science journal Science. From it we can see that atmospheric trends mean that the Amazon forest might change from absorbing carbon dioxide emissions, that helps prevent global warming, to doing just the opposite, namely having a net release of carbon dioxide. The article was written by a group of scientists, the lead writer being Simon L. Lewis, School of Geography, University of Leeds, UK.

The article notes that several global circulation models project that there will be an increase not only in the frequency of droughts but also in their severity. These changes are consequences of anthropogenic (caused by humans) greenhouse gas emissions. The proximate causes are:
first, increasing sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the Pacific Ocean; second, high SSTs in the Atlantic Ocean and the northwest displacement of what is termed the intertropical convergence zone.

The authors, using rainfall data, found the 2010 Amazon drought was spatially more extensive than the drought that occurred in 2005. Studying water deficits provided a measure of drought intensity and this was found to correlate with tree mortality. This led to calculations of carbon storage by the trees.

The authors concluded:
“The two recent Amazon droughts demonstrate a mechanism by which remaining intact tropical forests of South America can shift from buffering the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide to accelerating it. Indeed, two major droughts in a decade may largely offset the net gains intact Amazon forest above ground biomass in non-drought years...”.
Science (2011) volume 331, page 554. Major public libraries take the magazine Science, and it can be bought in big magazine/stationery shops.
See also the Telegraph article:
“Muslims must embrace our British values, David Cameron says”.
Telegraph online

13th January 2011.
England. Attitude of the public to the level of immigration.

The Communities and Local Government Department has produced its latest (no. 14) Cohesion Research Statistical report that deals with public opinion in England. The report covers a variety of issues that bear on community cohesion. We deal here just with the attitude of people to the level of immigration. People were asked to choose between four opinions:
Immigration should be 1) increased a little or a lot, 2) remain the same as it is, 3) reduced a little, and 4), reduced a lot.

The report said that “78 per cent of people thought that the number of immigrants coming to Britain should be reduced ('a little' or 'a lot'); whilst three percent thought the number should be increased. Fifty–four per cent thought that the number should be reduced a lot. There have been no clear patterns in trends over time...”.

From the 'release' of this report we give here the opinion numbers over recent years and our histogram for the latest period covered (April to September 2010).

For the 'Release' from the Communities Department click the following link then scroll down to “Download. Citizenship Survey: Headline Findings – April–September 2010. England”. In the document scroll down nearly half way to “Attitudes to Immigration”.
Communities Department.

See also
London Evening Standard.

Public Opinion
Category Year %
Increased by a little or a lot 2007-08 5
2008-09 5
2009-2010 3
April–September 3
Remain the same as it is 2007-08 16
2008-09 19
2009-2010 19
April–September 19
Reduced a little 2007-08 25
2008-09 25
2009-2010 21
April–September 24
Reduced a lot 2007-08 53
2008-09 51
2009-2010 56
April–September 54
histogram of opinions

11th January 2011.
“Home Affairs Committee publishes report on UK Border Agency”.

“In a brief report, the Home Affairs Committee highlights a number of areas where the UK Border Agency is not meeting the standards which both those using its services and the general public have the right to expect.

In particular, the committee singles out the continuing threat of delays and backlogs in processing asylum applications, which it attributes at least in part to inadequate decision–making in the first instance.

Continuing the practice of its predecessor committee, the Home Affairs Committee regularly reviews the work of the UK Border Agency in a number of key areas: dealing with new claims of asylum, clearing the historic backlog of asylum cases, deporting Foreign National Prisoners, moves to end the detention of children for the purpose of removal from the UK, and the information on individual cases provided to Members of Parliament.

Points made by the committee:

  • Reiterates its predecessors' recommendations about tightening up the registration and inspection of colleges in order to close down bogus institutions established chiefly to enable people to bypass the restrictions on work–related immigration to the UK;
  • Raises concerns that the programme to clear the historic backlog of 400–450,000 asylum cases will end in July 2011 with the Agency having been unable to discover what has happened to the claimants in up to one in seven (61,000) of the cases;
  • Notes that the passage of time means that the UK Border Agency is unlikely to trace 70 of the 1013 Foreign National Prisoners whose release without deportation led to Mr Charles Clarke's resignation as Home Secretary in 2005;
  • Raises concerns about the adequacy of the training and supervision of those involved in the enforced removal of unsuccessful asylum claimants.
  • Notes the high salary paid to the outgoing head of the UK Border Agency – in excess of that paid to the Permanent Secretary of the Home Office – and recommends that in the current economic situation a significantly lower salary should be paid to her successor.

The Committee Chair, Rt Hon Keith Vaz said,

‘Much of the delay in concluding asylum and other immigration cases stems from poor quality decision–making when the application is initially considered.

The UK Border Agency has made some progress over the last few years in relation to new procedures and approaches, but is still failing to meet expectations.

More consistent and rigorous scrutiny of applications would lead to fewer delays, fewer appeals, less uncertainty for the applicant, less pressure on the officials themselves, and probably lower costs for the UK taxpayer.

This may well require greater investment in staff training. It is also likely to require more consistent and considered direction from those setting policy for the Agency than has sometimes been the case.

In the current climate we believe it is inappropriate for senior Home Office officials to receive any bonuses, We also believe that the new head of the UK Border Agency should not receive a salary greater than either the Permanent Secretary of the Home Office or the Prime Minister’   ”.

Two points from the report itself.


18. Finally, our recent inquiries into the proposed immigration cap and the evidence sessions with both Ms Homer and the Immigration Minister have pointed up the multitude of statistics relating to migration, the different bases on which they are compiled, and the lack of comparability between sets of statistics and over time. This makes any discussion of the area very difficult as there is no agreed starting point and opponents choose whichever set of figures supports their argument best. We acknowledge that the conflicting sets of figures are compiled for different purposes and by a variety of bodies, but we consider that it would help both those engaged in the formation of immigration policy and the general public seeking to understand it if the Government – and indeed others – were to adopt a clear set of criteria for the measurement of inflows to and outflows from the UK (whether, for example, they include UK citizens, whether they relate to those settling in the UK and, if so, for how long, and so on) and to use only figures that meet these criteria when discussing migration, asylum and related policies.

“19. We also note that unless and until the UK has records of all those entering the country and leaving the country, many of the uncertainties highlighted in this Report will continue into the future”.

Parliamentary material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller 0f HMSO on behalf of Parliament.

See also:
“Asylum fiasco: Files closed on 61,000 missing cases”.
Daily Mail
“One in seven of asylum backlog may never be resolved”.

January 2011.
World 'Food Price Index' at record high for recent years.

The latest information on food prices from the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organisation shows that the Food Price Index reached a record high for the present century in December 2010 – 214.7. This index consists of the average of the commodity group produce price indices for meat, dairy, cereal, oils and fat, and sugar, weighted with the average export shares of each of the groups.The previous high record was 213.5 in June 2008.

The first of the following links gives yearly data for the years 2000 to 2009, and monthly data for 2010. The second link gives monthly data right back to January 1990. Both these links also give price indices for each food commodity group.

FAO monthly

The BBC's 5th of January take on the situation may be found at:

We note that the BBC report does mention our major concern at Gaia Watch about food supplies and the environment, namely the detrimental effects of continued human population growth. For it notes that the rapidly growing world population, together with the increase in demand for biofuels (to produce which land formerly used for human food production is often taken over), is one factor “putting pressure on crop supplies”.

30th December 2010.
News Release by the UK government's Department for Work and Pensions.

Here is the main part of the release:

“30 December 2010 – Over ten million people to live to 100”.

“More than ten million people in the UK today can expect to live to see their 100th birthday – 17 per cent of the population. Three million are currently aged under 16, 5.5 million are aged between 16 and 50, and 1.3 million are aged between 51 and 65. Around 875,000 are already aged over 65.

Pensions Minister Steve Webb said:

“These staggering figures really bring home how important it is to plan ahead for our later lives. Many millions of us will be spending around a third of our lives or more in retirement in the future.

“That's why we are reforming the pension system to make it sustainable for the long term, making sure people can look forward to a decent state pension when they retire, and helping millions save into a workplace pension, many for the first time”.

In 2066, there will be at least half a million people aged 100 or over.

The 2066 centenarians will include nearly 7,700 super centenarians, those aged 110 or over”.

See also the BBC item:
“Nearly one in five citizens 'to survive beyond one hundred'”.

30th December 2010.
A Study by the left wing think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) concludes there is unlikely to be a major drop in net immigration in 2011.

Although the new government coalition is seeking to honour its pledge to reduce net immigration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands, this study concludes that net migration is actually unlikely to fall significantly below 200,000 in 2011, which is roughly the annual level that it has been at for much of the last decade.

See also the BBC's item on this matter:

11th December 2010.
“UN officials hail climate change deal reached at Cancún conference”.

11 December 2010 – The United Nations climate change talks in Cancún have concluded with a package of decisions to help countries advance towards a low–emissions future, delivering what the world body's top officials have hailed as a victory in the battle against one of today's biggest challenges.

The outcome is an “important success for a world much in need of it”, Secretary–General Ban Ki–moon said in a statement issued on Saturday, following the conclusion of the two–week meeting.

“Governments came together in common cause, for the common good, and agreed on a way forward to meet the defining challenge of our time”.

Dubbed the “Cancún Agreements”, the decisions include formalizing mitigation pledges and ensuring increased accountability for them, as well as taking concrete action to protect the world's forests, which account for nearly one–fifth of global carbon emissions.

Delegates meeting at the 16th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) also agreed to ensure no gap between the first and second commitment periods of the Kyoto Protocol, an addition to the Convention that contains legally binding measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and whose first commitment period is due to expire in 2012.

Agreement was also reached on establishing a fund for long–term climate financing to support developing countries, and bolstering technology cooperation and enhancing vulnerable populations' ability to adapt to the changing climate.

“The outcomes in Cancún have given us important tools. Now we must use them, and strengthen our efforts in line with the scientific imperative for action”, stated Mr. Ban.

UN News Centre

Here are extracts from two other reports.

“UN climate talks approve first part of Cancun deal”.

“Cancun: UN–led talks early Saturday approved the first part of an agreement on fighting climate change, with host Mexico overruling objections by Bolivia.

The talks involving more than 190 nations approved an agreement that calls for consideration of another round of the landmark Kyoto Protocol, the first part of a deal that also includes setting up a climate aid fund.

Bolivia was virtually alone in rejecting the deal, saying that it was too timid. But Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa overruled the Bolivian negotiator who repeatedly took the floor and insisted the deal needed complete consensus.

Bolivia dismissed the proposed pact as inadequate, and it could derail the talks if it sticks to its guns because any deal under the U.N.–led negotiations needs unanimous support.

“Bolivia is not prepared to sign a document which means an increase of the average temperature, which will put more people close to death”, Bolivia's delegate Pablo Solon said.

“This text does not represent a step forward, it represents a step backward”, he said, arguing that the deal does little to meet the goal of checking the rise in temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius.

Bolivia has the toughest demands of any nation at the talks, demanding that rich nations halve their greenhouse gas emissions by 2017 from 1990 levels. President Evo Morales told the meeting earlier this week that the climate policies of rich nations were causing ‘genocide’ ”.

St Francis Xavier Kutam, Mudarangadi – UAE.

“ Green Agenda Kicked Into UN Black Hole”.

“The climate change conference in Cancún has ended with failure to set a target date for the reduction of carbon emissions. The Mexican hosts persuaded 192 out of 193 countries to accept the ‘Cancún agreement’ by the simple trick of aiming for the lowest common denominator – the agreement was secured by deferring decisions on all of the most contentious issues’. – Ben Webster, The Times, 13 December 2010.

“Under the new Cancun deal, each country will be allowed to offer whatever it wishes to pledge for emission reductions on its own volition. There shall be no cumulative target to reach. No one shall ask if the individual targets are collectively adequate or not. The new regime will only check if the pledges have been acted upon or not. Rich countries, including the US, will offer emission reduction targets and others, such as India, will offer their mitigation actions as part of a new deal which can be said to be defined by the bottoms up approach. Under the agreement India will get off easy. Because it let others off easy as well. – Nitin Sethi, The Economic Times of India, 12 December 2010”.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation.

November 2010.
“Tuberculosis in the UK. Report on tuberculosis surveillance in the UK 2010”. UK Health Protection Agency.

The following are extracts from the Executive Summary and Chapter One of the report.

“The trend of a gradual rise in the number of tuberculosis cases observed over the last 20 years continued in 2009, with a 4.2% rise giving an overall rate of 15 cases per 100,000 population in the UK.

A total of 9,040 cases of tuberculosis were reported in 2009 with the majority of disease concentrated in urban centres. All 19 primary care organisations with a rate of 40 per 100,000 or more were in major urban areas. London accounts for 38% of cases, with a rate of 44.4 per 100,000.

The majority of patients continue to be young adults aged 15 to 44 years (60%) and non–UK–born (73%). Rates of disease in the non–UK–born are twenty fold higher (around 86 per 100,000) than for those born in the UK (around 4 per 100,000). The majority of non–UK–born patients (79%) were diagnosed two or more years after arrival in the UK.

Approximately one in ten cases had at least one social risk factor (homelessness, drug or alcohol misuse or imprisonment), with a quarter of these reporting more than one risk factor.

As in previous years, the majority of cases born outside of the UK originated from South Asia (55%, 3167/5782) and sub–Saharan Africa (30%, 1704).

Among non–UK–born cases, the most frequent country of birth was India (28%, 1615/5793) followed by Pakistan (17%, 982) and Somalia (10%, 551) (Table 1.1). The three most frequent countries of birth of non–UK–born cases has remained the same in England in recent years (UK data not available); the number and proportion from India, however, continues to increase whereas the figures for Pakistan and Somalia have remained relatively stable”.

Health Protection Agency

Late November 2010.
“British Schools, Islamic Rules”.

A BBC Panorama programme:
An “Investigation which uncovers disturbing evidence that some Muslim children are being exposed to extremist preachers and fundamentalist Islamic groups. We also expose the part-time schools where hate is on the curriculum. The programme asks why school inspectors have missed the warning signs and examines the impact this could have on young Muslims' ability to integrate into mainstream British life”.

30th November 2010.
Migration Watch UK publish in a News Release a survey done for it by the polling organisation YouGov.
Here is the News Release:

“Huge public support for government restrictions on economic migration” 30 November, 2010.

“Widespread concern about the idea that the White British might find themselves in a minority in the UK by around 2066.

A resounding vote of confidence in the government's measures announced last week to reduce the number of economic migrants allowed to come to the UK – that was the message of an opinion poll conducted by YouGov for Migration Watch UK on 25–26 November.

81% supported this policy (55% strongly) while only 13% opposed (4% strongly). 6% did not know. Interestingly, 79% of Lib Dem's supported the policy, compared to 95% of Conservatives and 69% of Labour voters. Support was very strong in London (87%) and in the rest of the South (84%) but less strong in Scotland (71%).

As for the government's broader policy aim of getting net immigration down to tens of thousands by the end of this Parliament, most respondents wanted to see an even lower inflow. 70% thought that immigration of 50,000 or less would be best for Britain while 11% favoured 100,000 or more; 21% of Lib Dem's took this view but only 8% Conservatives and 16% Labour voters agreed with them. 19% did not know.

The poll also revealed widespread unhappiness about the result of a recent study which found that, if immigration continues at roughly its present levels, then by around 2066 there will be fewer White British people in the UK than those from other ethnic groups. 73% were unhappy (56% very unhappy) while only 2% were happy and 21% were neither or unhappy.

Commenting Sir Andrew Green Chairman Migrationwatch UK said, “These results are a strong vote of confidence in the government's recent measures to control economic migration. But they are also warning that the public, who would like to see even lower levels of immigration, are very unhappy about the long–term consequences of immigration for the make–up of our society”.


All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1,711 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 25th – 26th November 2010.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). YouGov is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by their rules”.

End of News Release.

Intellectual copyright remains the property of MigrationWatch UK © 2001 MigrationWatch UK. All rights reserved.

See also the report on this survey by the UK government's Visa and Immigration Co.
“Eight in ten people want tighter UK immigration controls”

25th November 2010.
“Statistical Bulletin. Migration Statistics Quarterly Report No.7: November 2010”.

Here are the first four points of the summary of this document (the remaining points concern applications to live and work in the UK).

  • Estimated total long–term immigration to the UK in the year to March 2010 was 580,000, similar to the level seen since 2004
  • Estimated total long–term emigration from the UK in the year to March 2010 was 364,000. This has declined since the year to December 2008, when total emigration from the UK was estimated at 427,000
  • Based on the provisional IPS component of LTIM for the year to March 2010, estimated long–term emigration of British citizens has declined by 28 per cent since the year to December 2008
  • Estimated net long–term migration to the UK in the year to March 2010 was 215,000. This continues the increase since the year to December 2008, when net migration was 163,000. The rise has primarily been driven by the recent fall in emigration. Net migration has fluctuated around the current level since the year to December 2005


See also:
Net immigration to UK increases.

ONS material reproduced under the terms of the Click–Use Licence (licence to reproduce public sector information, Office of Public Sector information). Source: National Statistics web site:

25th November 2010.
“Migration Statistics 2009.

Emigration of British Citizens at 10 year low.

“1. Long–Term International Migration (LTIM) : all migrants, 1991–2009.

An estimated 368,000 people emigrated from the UK in 2009, down from 427,000 in 2008 and similar to the estimated 341,000 in 2007. The drop from 2008 was due to a decrease in the number of British and EU citizens leaving the UK for at least a year.

An estimated 567,000 people arrived to live in the UK in 2009. This is not significantly different to the previous year (590,000 in 2008). Long–term immigration to the UK remained at similar levels to those seen in the last 5 years.

Net migration (the difference between immigration and emigration) into the UK was 198,000 in 2009. This was 35,000 higher than in 2008. This change is primarily as a result of decreased emigration in 2009 compared with 2008 and gives a net migration figure that is similar to the level in 2005 and 2006 and in line with the average over the last 5 years.

2. Migration and citizenship.

Of the 567,000 immigrants entering the UK in 2009, an estimated 471,000 were non-British, this accounted for 83 per cent. About two–thirds (303,000) of these non-British immigrants were from non–EU countries, almost unchanged from levels seen in 2008.

Emigration of British citizens was estimated at 140,000 in 2009, the lowest number since 1999 and down from 173,000 in 2008. Emigration of citizens of the remaining EU countries was 109,000 in 2009, compared with 134,000 in 2008. Emigration of non–British/non–EU citizens was 119,000 in 2009, a similar level to 2008.

Although fewer British citizens left the UK in 2009 than in the last ten years, there were 44,000 more leaving than arriving and this net emigration of British citizens was smaller than in recent years. In comparison, there were 242,000 more non–British citizens entering the UK than leaving in 2009.”


ONS material reproduced under the terms of the Click–Use Licence (licence to reproduce public sector information, Office of Public Sector information). Source: National Statistics web site:

25th November 2010.
“Polish people in the UK. Half a million Polish–born residents.

Since Poland and seven other central and Eastern European countries (collectively known as the A8) joined the EU in May 2004 around 69 per cent of all A8 citizens migrating to the UK have been Polish citizens. Between the year ending December 2003 and the year ending March 2010 the Polish–born population of the UK increased from 75,000 to 515,000.

More recently immigration of Polish people has declined. Immigration was highest in 2007 at 96,000 Polish citizens, but this declined to 39,000 in 2009. Emigration has also decreased from 54,000 to 29,000 over the same time period”.


See also:
“Polish plumbers return: Number of migrant workers from East Europe hits new high”.
Daily Mail

18th November 2010.
“When Britain becomes 'majority minority'”.

David Coleman, Professor of Demography in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at Oxford University, has made a set of UK population projections for ethnic groups.

These groups are defined (named) as in the Office of National Statistics (ONS) publications on ethnicity. The projections are given in an article with the above title in the December issue of the 'Prospect' magazine. As is always the case, projections are based on assumptions. With population projections, assumptions are normally made about future natural change (births minus deaths) and net migration (the difference between gross immigration and gross emigration). Fundamental to Coleman's projections are the latest ONS projections of the total population of the UK and constituent countries (not subdivided into ethnic groups), which at present are the 2008-based projections.

Migration is the factor about which it is most difficult to make suitable assumptions, and Coleman makes a series of four projections where migration is varied:

  1. The 'standard' projection. Here the totals track the totals in the ONS projections.
  2. A 'natural change' projection. This assumes there is no migration, either in or out. This is very useful for the study of the impact of migration on total population growth.
  3. A 'reduced migration' projection where it is assumed that annual net migration will fall to about 80,000. Remember that the government is pledged to reduce migration.
  4. A 'balanced migration' projection. Here it is assumed that inflows and outflows are numerically the same, but they differ between ethnic groups. A cross-party group of MPs has proposed a policy designed to produce such balanced migration.

In this last case, the assumptions about fertility vary between ethnic groups. These assumptions are based on 'time-series' trends from the 1960s onwards that had been reported on in earlier publications.

Some key results are as follows:

  • With the standard projection, the White: British population would decline from well over 50 million to 45 million by 2051 – 45 million being 59 per cent of the total population. If the assumptions used continued to hold after 2051, the White: British population would become a minority after about 2066.
  • With this same projection, the 'Other White' population would increase to 10 per cent, and the non-white groups together to 31 per cent by 2051.
  • With the reduced migration projection, the White: British population would fall to 63 per cent by 2051 and would fall below 50 per cent by around 2080.
  • With the balanced migration projection, the White: British population would fall to 67 per cent by 2051 and fall to 50 per cent by the end of the century.

Finally, Coleman mentions projections made earlier this year by Professor Phil Rees and colleagues of Leeds University, who used different, usually lower assumptions about fertility and net migration. They also take more fully into account changes in ethnic self-identification over generations. Here it was concluded that by 2051 the ethnic minority share would increase massively to 20 per cent of the total population, and the non-white population changes to 15 per cent. The White: British population share shrinks from 87.1 to 67.1 per cent. So the White: British population declines more slowly than in the Coleman standard projection.
Coleman comments “Migration is the key to these differences” (between his and the Rees groups projections). And this supports the view of the statement above that migration is the factor about which it is most difficult to make suitable projections.

18th November 2010.
UK. Report on capping immigration.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has today published its report into an annual limit on immigration through Tiers 1 and 2 of the points–based system. The report is very comprehensive (and very long!) and we will neither attempt a précis or even a summary of main conclusions here. But we do draw attention to the following points.

One. The committee think the best way of bringing annual net migration down to the tens of thousands (the government's aim) is to aim for a figure in the middle of the range. And they choose the objective of 50,000 in April 2015.
Two. The committee based their work on two basic assumptions.
First. “Net flows of British, EU and the non-IPS components of net migration over which the Government has limited control are held constant from 2009 levels, until 2010/11, and further until the end of this Parliament”.
Second. “Even closing all non–EU work–related migration routes altogether would not bring net migration down to the tens of thousands on its own. To reach the tens of thousands, the student and family routes will have to take a substantial share of any overall reduction”.

Home Office
See also:
UK Visa Bureau

4th November 2010.
The 2010 'Living Planet Report' from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

This report, with a foreword by Angel Gurría, Secretary General, Organisation for Economic Co–operation and Development, makes very dismal reading. It shows, based on proper scientific evidence, that the global biological environment continues its serious decline.

Use is made of the 'Living Planet Index' (LPI) to track trends in nearly 8,000 populations of vertebrate species, and hence show changes in biodiversity. The index is based on species population data from various sources – scientific journals, Non–Governmental Organisations and the World Wide Web. The data consists of time series of population size or density, or abundance or a proxy for same.

Between 1970 and 2007 trends in the LPI show global biodiversity has declined by nearly 30%.

There are very strong trend differences between tropical species and temperate species populations. In less than 40 years, with tropical species the decline has been about 60 per cent, while with temperate species the LPI has actually increased by 29 per cent.

Here are some examples (per cent change): Total Global: minus 28%. Total Tropical: minus 60%. Total Temperate: plus 29%. High income countries: plus 5%. Middle income countries: minus 25%. Low income countries: minus 58%.

Human activities are pressurising biodiversity, and WWF concludes the five “greatest direct pressures” are:

  • Habitat loss, alteration, and fragmentation.
  • Over–exploitation of wild species populations.
  • Pollution.
  • Climate change.
  • Invasive species.

The scale of the impact of human activities on biodiversity depends on:

  • Human population size (the consumers).
  • The quantity that each person consumes.
  • How efficiently natural resources are converted into goods and services.


4th November 2010.
“New cases of TB reach highest level for 30 years as drug resistant TB doubles in the last decade”.

The UK Health Protection Agency has produced a new report on tuberculosis (TB). In 2009, slightly over 9,000 cases were reported, which is the highest number for almost 30 years.

About two thirds of the cases were amongst non–UK born people who came from countries with a high prevalence of TB, reflecting the background levels of the infection in the countries concerned. Other groups more at risk of TB infection include homeless people and drug users, who may not have easy access to healthcare services.

Health Protection Agency
See also:

Late October 2010.
The UK government has proposed a cap on immigration. But will it work?

The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee concludes that the government's planned permanent cap on immigration, as presently proposed, would make little difference to current immigration levels.

But immigration minister Damian Green said that the cap as now proposed will not prevent the government fulfilling its pledges on reducing the level of immigration.

Late October 2010.
Pressure on school places from immigration and other causes.

Many primary and secondary schools are already overcrowded, and many are facing increasing overcrowding. Contributory causes mentioned include an increase in pupils following on the %baby boom%, increased immigration, and movement from private to state schools arising from the more difficult conditions in the recession.

As far as immigration is concerned, the organisation Migration Watch says that the number of children born in the UK to parents from abroad has more than doubled in 10 years and will continue to rise. It estimates that 550,000 extra school places will be needed by 2015, which will cost £40 bn. But the head of migration at the Institute for Public Policy Research thinks the Migration Watch research was based on “guesstimates” and amongst other consequences, half of the children referred to in the figures are also those whose mother was born abroad, but whose father was UK–born.

Financial Mail Women's Forum
Independent Schools Council

18th October 2010.
“Critical biodiversity conference opens in Japan”.

“Envoys from around the world will discuss how to reverse the alarming rate of plant and wildlife loss, but compensation disputes between industrialized and developing nations make the meeting's outcome far from certain”.

The Japanese Farm Minister Michihiko Kano said ahead of the opening of the conference that “The loss of biodiversity is developing in the fastest pace ever," and “It is our responsibility to carry over a rich biodiversity to the next generation”.
Deutsche Welle

“'Ten years' to solve nature crisis, UN meeting hears”.
The Japanese Prime Minister opened the conference. One of the points he made was that “We are now close to a 'tipping point' – that is, we are about to reach a threshold beyond which biodiversity loss will become irreversible, and may cross that threshold in the next 10 years if we do not make proactive efforts for conserving biodiversity” (our bold text).

NB. Earlier this year the United Nations (UN) published an assessment of the global situation in its publication 'The Global Outlook'; this document indicated that “virtually all trends spanning the state of the natural world were heading downwards, despite conservation successes in some regions”.
UN. The Global Outlook.

Another 'tipping point'.
Readers may recall that James Lovelock FRS wrote in his 2006 book “The revenge of Gaia” that the self-regulating global climate system (Gaia) may be approaching a tipping point to a far hotter world. We posted a review of this book on our BooK Reviews page. Now last year he produced another book “A final warning. The vanishing face of Gaia”. There he states his view that this transition is now likely to happen. The Foreword of this new book is written by Sir Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society and Professor of Cosmology at Cambridge University. In this foreword Sir Martin writes of Lovelock ldquo;He is a hero to many scientists – certainly to me”. So we have two tipping points to worry about.

17th October 2010.
“Chancellor Merkel says German multiculturalism has 'utterly failed'”.

Merkel, head of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), said this in a speech to the party's young people's association in Potsdam on Saturday.

A similar speech was made on Friday by Horst Seehofer, the head of the CDU's Bavarian sister party the CSU. But Stephan Kramer, the general secretary of the Central Council of Jews in a newspaper interview was very critical of this speech.

Merkel in her speech stressed that immigrants must learn to speak German so that they could compete on the job market. She also stressed the importance of immigration (especially of highly skilled migrants) for Germany; but she also said that at the same time, older German workers should not be overlooked, so immigrants should not be considered “until we have done all we can to help our own people to become qualified and give them a chance ”.

Deutsche Welle
See also BBC

12th October 2010.
“Global demographic trends and future carbon emissions”.

An article with this title published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA). One thing the authors concluded was: “slowing population growth could provide 16–29% of the emissions reductions suggested to be necessary by 2050 to avoid dangerous climate change”.

Early October 2010.
Various warnings of possible terrorist attacks in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

Reuters “U.S. warns of possible attacks in Europe”.
Irish Times “France urges citizens to be 'extemely vigilant' in Britain”.
BBC “Drone death man 'being groomed to head UK terror group'”.
BBC “Drone attacks 'linked' to suspected Europe terror plot”.
U.S. Department of State. “Travel Alert”.
BBC “Profile of Ahmed Sidiqi”.

29th September 2010
“New study shows one fifth of the world's plants are under threat of extinction”.

Scientists at Kew and the Natural History Museum in the UK, together with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), have made a global analysis that has led them to the above headline conclusion.

“Plants are more threatened than birds, as threatened as mammals and less threatened than amphibians or corals”. “The most threatened habitat is tropical rain forest…”. “The most threatening process is man–induced habitat loss, mostly the conversion of natural habitats for agriculture or livestock use”.

It must be noted, however, that “About one third of the species (33%) in our sample are insufficiently known to carry out an assessment. This demonstrates the scale of the task facing botanists – many plants are so poorly known that we still don't know if they are endangered or not”.

Comment. For us at Gaia Watch, the most disappointing thing about this very short account on which the above notes are based and which can be accessed from the link below, is that there is no mention of human population growth, a major cause, and we would say the most important cause of the "man–induced habitat loss".

16th September 2010
“Making Space for Nature: A review of England's Wildlife Sites and Ecological Network”.
Report of a panel chaired by Professor Sir John Lawton CBE FRS. Submitted to the Secretary of State, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 16 September 2010.

This survey of England's wildlife and 'ecological network' arose at the instigation of the then Secretary of State in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Hilary Benn, in September 2009.

The Terms of Reference of the panel of experts set up to conduct the survey and make recommendations was to “examine evidence on the extent to which the collection of sites [in England designated for nature conservation] represents a coherent and resilient ecological network capable of adapting to the challenge of climate change and other pressures”. As the chairman explained, the results of the panel's work showed that the present collection of conservation sites were definitely not a coherent and resilient ecological network. The panel concluded that “we need a step-change in our approach to wildlife conservation, from trying to hang on to what we have, to one of large-scale habitat restoration and recreation, under-pinned by the re-establishment of ecological processes and ecosystem services, for the benefits of both people and wildlife”.

The report explains why our wildlife environment is important, classifies and describes the main types of sites whose purpose includes the protection of wildlife, summarises changes in species abundance and distribution over the years, discusses the effects of climate change, describes conservation methods and how the approach to conservation has changed over the years, and makes a series of recommendations to the government on future conservation strategy.

Two main drivers of adverse change are identified in the report: First, “Habitat loss, and the resulting fragmentation and isolation of surviving patches of semi-natural habitats. Agriculture has changed large areas of our landscape by ploughing, draining and fertilising what were semi-natural heaths, chalk grasslands and lowland wet grasslands. In 2008, for instance, 11 out of the 15 (73%) priority habitats (so called Biodiversity Action Plan or BAP habitats) England were declining as a result of agricultural practices”.
Second, “Habitat deterioration. The abandonment of traditional management practices on surviving patches of semi-natural habitats (because they are no longer viewed as economically viable)”. An example the report gives is “a cessation of grazing on such habitats as flower-rich chalk grassland (resulting in scrub-invasion), and a lack of coppicing in woodland (resulting in a closure of the canopy and much gloomier woods that quickly lose some of their wildlife interest)”.

The report draws attention to conclusions in the document 'Foresight Land Use Futures 2010' which identifies six major drivers of changes in land-use over the next 40 years:
Demographic change, economic growth and changing economic conditions, climate change, new technologies, societal preferences and attitudes, and the policy and regulatory environment. As an organisation primarily concerned with the effects of population growth, we at Gaia Watch note that on the first of these drivers we read:
“The England population has risen from 46.4 million in 1971, to 51.5 million in 2008 (Office for National Statistics 2009). This increase, combined with more people choosing to live alone, has had a profound effect on demand for housing and infrastructure. Figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest England's population could increase to 60.7 million by 2033, with an increase of 18% in the proportion of people living in single occupancy houses”. Implicit here is the idea that this population growth will cause a serious reduction of the area of what we may call 'greenland'.

We are told “Much of England's wildlife is now restricted to certain places, our wildlife sites” “consisting largely of semi-natural habitats moulded by millennia of human-use”. While these sites are vital for the survival of many species, both plant and animal, “surviving in small, isolated sites is, however, difficult for many species, and often impossible in the longer term, because they rarely contain the level of resources or the diversity of habitats needed to support sustainable populations”. Existing sites may be regarded as stepping stones for species to migrate from one site to another, but existing sites do not allow sifficient movement. We need to establish wildlife corridors connecting existing sites.

More comprehensively, we need to “(i) Improve the quality of current sites by better habitat management; (2) Increase the size of current wildlife sites; iii) Enhance connections between, or join up, sites, either through physical corridors, or through ‘stepping stones’; (iv) Create new sites. (v) Reduce the pressures on wildlife by improving the wider environment, including through buffering wildlife sites”.

View the report:
See also:

14th September 2010
“French Senate passes ban of full Muslim veils”.

The upper house of the French parliament, the Senate, voted almost unanimously for the ban on the Burka Islamic veil in public places (246 for the ban, 1 against). The Burka is an Islamic garment that covers the face apart from eye holes and the rest of the body (some say apart from the hands).
The National Assembly (lower house of parliament) passed the proposal for a ban overwhelmingly in July. The lower house of the Belgium parliament voted against the wearing of the full Islamic face veil in public in April of this year.
See also BBC

7th September 2010
“Population of foreign citizens in the EU27 in 2009. Foreign citizens made up 6.4% of the EU27 population”.

This is the title of a Press Release by Eurostat about a new report. Two highlights are that:
One. “On 1 January 2009, 31.9 million foreign citizens lived in the EU27 Member States, of which 11.9 million were citizens of another EU27 Member State. The remaining were citizens of countries outside the EU27, in particular from other European countries (7.2 million), Africa (4.9 million), Asia (4.0 million) and the American continent (3.3 million)”:
Two. “Foreign citizens younger on average than nationals. On average in 2009, foreign citizens living in the EU27 were significantly younger than the population of nationals (median age 34.3 years compared with 41.2 years). This was true in all Member States except Estonia, Latvia and Poland. The largest differences were recorded in Italy (32.3 compared with 43.9), Finland (33.0 compared with 42.1) and Denmark (32.1 compared with 41.0)”.

“Amongst foreign citizens, those from countries outside the EU27 were younger than those from other EU27 Member States (median age 33.0 years compared with 36.9 years)”.

What is the situation in the United Kingdom? In terms of the total size of the foreign citizen population, the UK comes third largest out of all EU27 countries (numbers in thousands):
Germany: 7,185.9; Spain: 5,651.0; UK: 4,020.8. In terms of percentage of the whole population, there are 10 EU27 countries with a higher proportion of foreign citizens. But the UK percentage (6.6) is a little above the EU mean (6.4).

Of the UK 4,020.8 just mentioned, 1,614.8 were citizens of another EU27 state, 2,406.0 were citizens of countries outside the EU27.


1st September 2010
World food prices rise.

The Food Price Index of the FAO (United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation) has risen by five per cent. This surge reflects the rise in international wheat prices after the drought in the Russian Federation followed by the restrictions of wheat sales subsequently introduced by that country; subsidiary causes were higher sugar and oilseed prices.

There have been big global rises in the price of meat also. Forecasts of production have been lowered for barley and rice, although maize production is heading for an all time high.

The stated reasons for price rises are droughts and fires (e.g. Russia and Australia), floods (e.g. Pakistan), and with meat, rising demand in Asia and the Middle East, coupled with reduced cattle production and an increase in the cost of grain used in animal feed.

We comment that the rising global human population continues to challenge the ability of the world to feed that population. This problem is aggravated by the fact that in some developing countries, notably China and India with their very large populations, there has been a big rise in the size of the middle classes, with people quite naturally desiring to attain the standard of living experienced in developed nations like the USA and the UK.

“Wheat sends food prices up”:
“Wheat pushes world food prices up”:
“Meat price surge fuels fears of food inflation”:
FT com
“High demand pushes up meat prices by 25% in three years”:

26th and 27th August 2010
“Births in England and Wales by parents' country of birth 2009”.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has published its latest information on births with the above title. Here are what the document calls “Key findings”.

“Key findings
• Births to mothers born outside the United Kingdom (UK) accounted for nearly a quarter (24.7 per cent) of all live births in 2009. This has increased since 2008, when it was 24.1 per cent.
• In 2009, the estimated Total Fertility Rate (TFR) for women born outside the UK was 2.48 children per woman. As in previous years, this is higher than for women born in the UK at 1.84 children per woman.
• In 2009, the three countries with the highest number of births to mothers from outside the UK were Pakistan, Poland and India. These have been the three most common countries of birth of non–UK born mothers since 2007.
• Of the local authorities in England, the London borough of Newham recorded the highest percentage of births to mothers born outside the UK in 2009 (75.7 per cent).
• Of the local authorities in Wales, Cardiff had the highest percentage of births to mothers born outside the UK in 2009 (24.5 per cent)”.


The Telegraph reported on this new statistical release the following day with the heading “Babies to foreign mothers at record levels”:

ONS material reproduced under the terms of the Click–Use Licence (licence to reproduce public sector information, Office of Public Sector information). Source: National Statistics web site:

26th August 2010
ONS. Migration Statistics Quarterly Report no. 6.

The first part of the Summary Statistics is as follows:

“The latest provisional LTIM and IPS data suggest:
  • Estimated total long–term immigration to the UK in the year to December 2009 was 567,000 compared with the final estimate of 590,000 in the year to December 2008 and at a similar level to that seen since 2004, when the A8 countries of central and eastern Europe joined the EU.
  • Estimated total long–term emigration from the UK in the year to December 2009 was 371,000. This was 13 per cent lower than the final estimate of 427,000 in the year to December 2008.
  • Based on the provisional IPS component of LTIM, estimated long–term emigration of British citizens declined by approximately a quarter during the year to December 2009.
  • Estimated net long–term migration to the UK in the year to December 2009 was 196,000. This compares with the final estimate of 163,000 in the year to December 2008”.


It is the last point that a BBC News item highlights:
“Net migration to UK rose in 2009, statistics show”.

ONS material reproduced under the terms of the Click–Use Licence (licence to reproduce public sector information, Office of Public Sector information). Source: National Statistics web site:

August 2010
UK. Sarah Mulley of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) produces two articles that say claims that immigration has adverse effects on employment made by sections of the media are misleading.

The claims she identifies are, first, that recent immigration to the UK has caused higher unemployment; second, that most new jobs in Britain go to foreigners and the number of Britons with jobs falls:
New Statesman

August 2010
UK. State pension age rise needed to balance books.

The Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) has produced a submission to the Department for Work and Pensions. This submission concludes that “the primary driver behind increasing the SPA should be to recognise recent improvements in longevity and potential future improvements in longevity”.

The PPI makes suggestions as to by how much the State Pension Age (SPA) should be raised. The amount depends on what proportion of adult life it is judged that people should be in receipt of the state pension. The suggestions are:
To keep the proportion of adult life in receipt of the state pension at today's 2010 levels of 33% of adult life, then the SPA would need to rise to 66.5 by 2030.
To keep the proportion constant at the 2000 level of 30%, the SPA would need to rise to 68 by 2030.
To keep the proportion constant at 1981 levels of 25%, the SPA would need to rise to 72 by 2030.

Pension Policy Institute (click on the little PDF icon to read the full submission)

16th August 2010
UK. Combination of two exceptional weather events. Consequence: reduction of food stocks for cattle.

Two recent exceptional weather events were the severe recent winter and the long dry period in the first six months of this year. Each of these events has had the effect of reducing the stocks of grass that farmers keep to provide food for their cattle during the next winter:

The key feature of last winter was the cold. Consequence: snow lay on the ground much longer than usual. Consequence: farmers could only put out their cattle to feed on grass in the fields for a shorter time than usual. Consequence: farmers used up more of their hay reserves than usual.

The dry spring meant that there was less moisture in the soil than usual. Consequence: grass did not grow so well as in a typical year. Consequence: farmers were less able than usual to replenish their grass stocks. Consequence: reduced grass stocks.

Reduced stocks led to a rise in hay prices, making things very difficult for farmers, especially 'small' farmers.
As one might expect with any serious food shortage, this led to hay thieving, especially from isolated farms and livery yards. Consequence: further reduction of stocks of hay for the owners so affected.

Thinking now more generally, we know that exceptional weather events are likely to increase with global warming, warming partly caused by growth in the human population (the more people there are, the more overall consumption). Consequence: more environmental degradation including release of the climate changing gas carbon dioxide. But continued human population growth has another effect – an even greater population of people requiring food, including animal products (meat and milk). So there are concerns that world food production might not keep up with population growth. While many experts are optimistic about the future, the fact remains that although for many decades, world food production kept pace with population growth, this century there has been a fall in the stocks of some grains such as wheat.

The BBC reported on this spell of hay thefts:

Early August 2010
Floods, high temperatures and food supply.

We know that severe weather events across the globe are becoming more frequent and more severe. This is thought to be a consequence of global warming, caused by man's activities, and human population growth has aggravated this warming. At the same time, population growth is one cause of deforestation in upland areas causing an increase in flash floods, and one cause of people, running out of low lying land for house building, trying to build houses on steep slopes in mountainous regions, making them more likely to suffer the lethal effects of flash floods and mud flows. Now we see the massive floods in Pakistan causing fruit and vegetable prices to soar in that country, and fires in Russia following a long hot dry period causing an upward spike in world food prices and a ban on wheat exports from Russia. This all comes after a warning in June from the United Nations (UN) and the Organisation for Economic Co–operation and Development (OECD) that big rises in world food prices over the next ten years are likely to occur (very big rises for wheat, coarse grains, vegetable oils and milk, lesser rises for livestock):

Pakistan (
Russia(Daily Mail)
OECD (FAO Media Cenre)

28th July 2010
Population Reference Bureau. “2010 World Population Data Sheet”.

The rapid growth of the world population in the second half of the 20th century has slowed. But the population will continue to grow through reduced mortality and increased logevity.

With developed countries, population growth has “essentially peaked”, the little growth remaining will come about through immigration from less developed countries. In contrast, population growth will continue in developing parts of the world (most world growth in the 20th century was in developing countries, caused by reductions in mortality rates).

The most populous countries in the world(figures in millions) in 2010 were China: 1,338; India: 1,189; USA: 310; Indonesia: 235. Projections have, for 2050, India: 1,748; China: 1437; USA: 423; Pakistan: 335.

In Europe (figures in thousands), the most populous countries in mid–2009 were: Germany: 81,980; France: 62,621; UK: 61,823. Projected for mid–2050: UK: 76,949; Germany: 71,351; France: 69,961. So the UK is projected to ovetake Germany as the most populous country, and the population of Germany is projected to decline.

Population Reference Bureau

27th July 2010
UK. “Conservative immigration cap under threat from Liberal Democrats”.

21st July 2010
“Live births. Fertility rates fall”.
The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) for 2009 shows an average of 1.96 children per woman in England and Wales. This represents a small decrease in fertility from 1.97 children in 2008. This is the first annual decrease since 2001 when the TFR fell to 1.63 from 1.65 in 2000. The TFR for 2009 is still comparably high. In 2008 the TFR was at its highest point in 35 years.

See also 21st July 2010. “Statistical Bulletin. Births and deaths in England and Wales 2009”.

See also 24th June 2010. “Fertility. UK fertility remains high”.

ONS material reproduced under the terms of the Click–Use Licence (licence to reproduce public sector information, Office of Public Sector information). Source: National Statistics web site:

July 2010
Wohland, P. et al. “Ethnic Population Projections for the UK and Local Areas, 2001–2051”. Working Paper 10/02. School of Geography, Leeds University.

The projections were made for all 16 of the ethnic groups defined for the 2001 census. According to these projections, the ethnic composition of the UK population will change substantially by 2051. The white share of the population will decrease from 92 to 79 % the non-White population will increase from 8 to 21%.

Point 19 of the “summary of findings”:
“Our projections show huge differences in the potential growth of the different ethnic groups. Under the TREND–EF projection between 2001 and 2031 the White British group grows by 4%, the White Irish group by 10% and the Black Caribbean group by 31%. These are the low growth groups. The Mixed groups grow between 148 and 249%. The Asian groups increase between 95 and 153%. The Black African group grows by 179%, the Other Black group by 104%, the Chinese group by 202% and the Other Ethnic Group by 350%”.

The authors of this report say “The results described in this report are both provisional and experimental”.

Click on the following link to view the paper (be patient; this is a very large file).
Ethnic Population Projections
See also BBC 13th July

8th July 2010
“Widespread Support For Banning Full Islamic Veil in Western Europe“, but “most Americans Disapprove“.

This is the main conclusion of a survey by the Pew Research Centre (Pew Global Attitudes Project). The survey covered four European countries and the USA. Approval for the ban was in France 82%, Germany 71%, Britain 62%, Spain 59%, but USA only 28%.

30th June 2010
The British diaspora.

A report by Tim Finch et al of the left-leaning Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) provides details of the changing picture of British emigration and the number of British people living abroad “Global Brit. Making the most of the British diaspora”. It shows among other things that British emigration has been falling in recent years.
See also The Telegraph

28th June 2010
Home Office (HO) of the UK government: “Coalition commits to impose immigration limit”.

The number of workers entering the UK from outside Europe will be controlled by a new limit the Home Secretary, Theresa May, announced today.

Net migration will be scaled back to the levels of the 1990s – to tens of thousands rather than hundreds of thousands. Introducing a limit on migrants from outside Europe coming here to work is just one of the ways the Government intends to achieve this.

Details of how the final limit will be delivered will be agreed following a 12-week consultation with businesses. In the meantime an interim limit will be introduced to ensure there is no rush of applications and the number of work visas issued stays below 2009 levels.

Home Office

Home Office material reproduced under the terms of the Click–Use Licence (licence to reproduce public sector information, Office of Public Sector information). Source: Home Office web site HO

25th June 2010
“Racial violence: the buried issue”.

“Research published by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) today, reveals dangerously high levels of racial violence in the UK - a violence which is spreading into new areas”.

Press Release:
Full report:
See also BBC

24th June 2010
“Population Change. UK population increases by 394,000”. Briefing by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

“The population of the UK was 61,792,000 in mid–2009. This is an increase of 394,000 (0.6 per cent) on mid–2008 and is equivalent to an average increase of over 1,000 people a day.

Population growth has increased over recent decades. This latest increase compares with an average annual growth of: 0.6 per cent since 2001; 0.3 per cent per year between 1991 and 2001; and 0.2 per cent per year between 1981 and 1991.

Changes in births, deaths and the pattern of international migration into and out of the UK have all contributed to population change.

Natural change was the largest contributor to population growth until the year to mid–1999 and more recently in the years to mid–2008 and mid–2009. Between these periods, net migration was the main driver of population change. In the year to mid–2002, net migration accounted for 70% of the total population change.

Since 2002, natural change has accounted for an increasing proportion of total population change; in the year to mid–2009 it accounted for over half of total population growth (55%).

…natural change contributed 217,000 to population growth in the year to mid–2009, slightly less than in the year to mid–2008. The overall increase in natural change since the mid–2002 figure of 62,000 is mainly attributable to a growth in the number of births between 2002 and 2008, although a decrease in the numbers of deaths over this period has also played a part.

Until mid–2008, the number of births was increasing partly due to rising fertility among UK born women and partly because there were more women of childbearing ages due to inflows of female migrants to the UK. However the recent decline is driven by a decrease in the UK born female population of childbearing age.

In comparison, net migration contributed to 176,000 of population growth in the year to mid–2009, an increase of 23% on the mid 2002 figure of 143,000”.


ONS material reproduced under the terms of the Click–Use Licence (licence to reproduce public sector information, Office of Public Sector information). Source: National Statistics web site:

13th June 2010
UK. Office for Public Responsibility: “Pre–Budget forecast June 2010”.

On 17 May 2010, the Chancellor announced the establishment of a new Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). This has now produced a pre–budget forecast. In what follows we only look at main demographic factors.

The report speaks of 'liabilities and fiscal pressures' one of which is the ageing of the UK population:

From chapter five of the report:
“…an ageing population, with demographic trends putting upward pressure on health care and pension spending. The annual impact of demographic change on the public finances is projected to amount to almost 4 per cent of GDP by 2049–50”.

“Ageing pressures.
5.22 The percentage of the UK population aged 65 and over increased slightly from 15 per cent in 1983 to 16 per cent in 2008. Over the same period, the percentage of the population aged 16 and under decreased from 21 per cent to 19 per cent. This trend is projected to accelerate. By 2033, 23 per cent of the population will be aged 65 and over, compared to 18 per cent aged 16 or younger.
5.23 The ageing of the population is a demographic and social issue. But it is also relevant to the position of the public finances: directly, by affecting public spending and tax receipts, and indirectly, through its impact on economic growth.
5.24 Age groups differ in the extent to which they contribute to tax receipts and consume public services. Stylised age profiles illustrate how separate items of revenue and spending are distributed over a representative individual’s lifetime. If all such items are summed over a lifetime, it is apparent that large spending items (such as health and pensions) occur outside working years. An increasingly old demographic structure therefore can have implications for fiscal sustainability.
5.25 A detailed description of how long–term fiscal projections can be constructed can be found in the Treasury’s Long–term public finance report. One approach to long–term projections uses a ‘bottom-up’ method to illustrate demographic pressures on individual areas of public spending. These can then be aggregated to arrive at a projection for the total fiscal impact of demographic change. Because of the great uncertainty over population projections and the sensitivity to underlying assumptions, these projections should be seen as only indicative.
5.26 In the UK, on unchanged policies, population ageing and the retirement of the ‘baby boom’ generation is projected to lead to increased spending on health, long–term care and state pensions, with some offset from reduced education spending. In twenty years time, annual state pensions and long–term care spending are each projected to be around ½ per cent of GDP higher than their level in 2009–10 (the base year of the last published projections), and health spending will be almost 1½ per cent of GDP higher. Total spending on these three areas of expenditure is projected to be almost 2½ per cent of GDP higher.
5.27 Relative to current levels of age–related spending, projections generated by the Treasury’s long–term public finances model suggest that the total annual impact of demographic change on the public finances will amount to over 2 per cent of GDP by 2029–30, around 3½ per cent of GDP by 2039–40 and almost 4 per cent of GDP by 2049–50”.

© Crown copyright 2010. OBR
See also Guardian

27th May 2010
Release of British Citizenship Statistics.

The UK Home Office today released citizenship statistics for 2009 together with data for previous years this century. “Applications for citizenship increased by 24 per cent in 2009 to 193,810”. And “the number of persons granted British citizenship rose by 58 per cent to 203,790 in 2009”. “The main nationalities granted citizenship were Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Philippine” (our underlining) .
Home Office
Times Online

Home Office material reproduced under the terms of the Click–Use Licence (licence to reproduce public sector information, Office of Public Sector information). Source: Home Office Statistical Bulletin. British Citizenship Statistics United Kingdom, 2009.

27th May 2010
UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) “Polish people in the UK. Half a Million Polish–born residents”.

“Since Poland and seven other central and Eastern European countries (collectively known as the A8) joined the EU in May 2004 around 71 per cent of all A8 citizens migrating to the UK have been Polish citizens. Between the year ending December 2003 and the year ending September 2009 the Polish–born population of the UK increased from 75,000 to 520,000”.

“More recently immigration of Polish people has declined and emigration has risen. Immigration was highest in 2007 at around 96,000 Polish citizens, but this declined to 64,000 in 2008 while emigration increased from 19,000 to 54,000 over the same time period”.

This ONS document also gives information on the spread aross the UK, age structure, and employment of the Polish population in the UK.


ONS material reproduced under the terms of the Click–Use Licence (licence to reproduce public sector information, Office of Public Sector information). Source: National Statistics web site:

27th May 2010
“Latest Migration Statistics”.

This is the title of the latest UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) Migration Statistics Quarterly Report (May 2010).

Here are key features on migration per se. The report also contains information on National Insurance numbers allocated to non–UK nationals, and work applications of A8 country citizens.

• Long–term immigration to the UK declined in the year to September 2009 (503,000 compared with 555,000 in the previous year to September 2008, a fall of 9 per cent).
• Long–term immigration of citizens of the A8 Accession countries (those countries of central and eastern Europe that joined the European Union in 2004) declined in the year to September 2009 (45,000 compared with 100,000 in the previous year to September 2008, a fall of 55 per cent).
• Long–term emigration from the UK in the year to September 2009 was 361,000 compared with 395,000 in the previous year to September 2008. This change was not statistically significant.
• Long–term emigration of British citizens declined in the year to September 2009 (134,000 compared with 173,000 in the previous year to September 2008, a fall of 23 per cent).
• Long–term emigration of A8 citizens was unchanged in the year to September 2009 compared with the year to September 2008 (57,000 in both years).
• Net migration to the UK (the surplus of people immigrating over people emigrating) in the year to September 2009 was 142,000. This compares with 160,000 in the year to September 2008.


ONS material reproduced under the terms of the Click–Use Licence (licence to reproduce public sector information, Office of Public Sector information). Source: National Statistics web site:

In relation to these new migration statistics, one UK newspaper comments on the policies of main political parties and the attitude of the general public to migration trends:
The Guardian

27th May 2010
“2008-based Subnational Population Projections for England.”

This is the title of a new UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) Statistical Bulletin. Here are key features of this report.

Subnational population projections provide estimates of the future population of English Government Office Regions (GORs), local authorities, strategic health authorities and primary care organisations assuming a continuation of recent trends in fertility, mortality and migration. The population of all GORs is projected to rise over the ten year period 2008 to 2018. The East is projected to be the fastest growing English region over this period. The population of this region is projected to increase by 10 per cent over the decade to 2018, rising by over 0.5 million to 6.3 million …. Over the same period, the population of five other regions (London, Yorkshire and The Humber, South West, East Midlands and South East) are also projected to increase by 8 per cent or more. In contrast, the North West and North East are projected to have the smallest percentage increases in population between 2008 and 2018.

The subnational population projections are based on the assumption that recent trends in fertility, mortality and migration at local authority level will continue; they take no account of local development policy, economic factors or the capacity of areas to accommodate population. The projections provide the population levels and age structure that would result if the assumptions about future fertility, mortality and migration levels were realised.

Colchester is projected to have the largest percentage growth … over the decade to 2018. The population of Colchester is projected to increase by 19 per cent between 2008 and 2018, a rise of 33,000 to 207,000 …. Six of the ten fastest growing local authorities are in the East.

The populations of only eight of the 354 local authorities in England … are projected to fall over the decade to 2018. Five of these eight authorities are in the North West (Sefton, Burnley, Wirral, Ellesmere Port & Neston and Chester).

The 2008-based Subnational Population Projections reflect the ageing of the population over time. In 2008, 16 per cent of the population of England was estimated to be aged 65 and over, with the South West region estimated to have the highest percentage of older persons (19 per cent). In 2033, over a quarter of the population of the South West is projected to be aged 65 and over ….

By 2033, it is projected that over 40 per cent of the population of England will be aged 65 and over in the following local authorities: West Somerset (43 per cent), Berwick-upon-Tweed, South Shropshire, West Dorset (all 41 per cent), Rother and North Norfolk (both 40 per cent). Over the next 25 years, only two local authorities, Tower Hamlets and Barking and Dagenham, are projected to see a fall in the percentage of their population aged 65 and over.


ONS material reproduced under the terms of the Click–Use Licence (licence to reproduce public sector information, Office of Public Sector information). Source: National Statistics web site:

A UK Newspaper reported on this bulletin, linking it with new immigration and passport figures:
Daily Mail

27th May 2010
“European Commission proposes visa free travel for Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

For sometime now there have been discussions in the European Union (EU) about travel restrictions for citizens of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Today the European Commission adopted proposals that had been made with the purpose of allowing citizens of these countries to travel to EU countries together with Switzerland, Norway and Iceland ('Schengen area countries), but not the UK and Ireland which do not subscribe to the 'common visa policy'. Under these proposals, provided they have biometric passports, the citizens of these three countries would be able to travel for 90 days without being required to have and carry visas. However, before a final decision to implement these proposals is made, certain other changes remain to be made in these three countries such as strengthening law enforcement capacities.

A UK newspaper has reacted by expressing concerns that this new development could facilitate illegal entry into the UK from these countries.

European Commission
Daily Express

25th May 2010
Latest information on births, deaths and fertility, England and Wales, from the UK Office of National Statistics.

Key features include the following:

Provisional fertility rates for 2009 give an average number of 1.95 children per woman in England and Wales. This represents a slight decrease in fertility from 1.97 children per woman in 2008. This is the first annual decrease since 2001 when the average number of children per woman was 1.63, having fallen from 1.65 in 2000.

The provisional 2009 total fertility rate (TFR) of 1.95 children is still relatively high compared with recent years, although it is notably lower than in the 1960s when it reached a peak of 2.93 in 1964.

Compared with 2008, there have been small decreases in fertility rates for women aged under 35. In contrast, fertility rates for women aged 35–39 and 40–44 continued to increase in 2009.

Provisional age–standardised mortality rates have continued their downward trend in 2009, with 6,579 per million population for males and 4,633 per million population for females. Compared with 2008, this is a fall of 4.0 per cent for males and 5.4 per cent for females.

There were 706,248 live births in England and Wales in 2009, compared with 708,711 in 2008, a fall of 0.3 per cent. This is the first annual decrease in births since 2001 when there were 594,634 live births (down from 604,441 in 2000) and represents a change from the rising numbers of births observed over the past seven years.

The proportion of live births in England and Wales, to mothers born outside the United Kingdom continued to rise in 2009, reaching 24.7 per cent compared with 24.1 per cent in 2008 and 14.3 per cent in 1999. The proportion of births to mothers born outside the UK has increased every year since 1990 when it was just under 12 per cent.


ONS Material reproduced under the terms of the Click–Use Licence (licence to reproduce public sector information, Office of Public Sector information). Source: National Statistics web site:

Late April – early May 2010
Global biodiversity decline.

A study in the journal Science, using 31 indicators of biodiversity, carried out by an international team of experts, paints a very depressing picture of decline in global biodiversity.
Most of the indicators show declines, with no apparent slowing of rates of decline.

Science, 29th April, 29th April
University World News 9th May

3rd May 2010
False impression given about the contribution that immigration from the European Union (EU) into the United Kingdom (UK) makes to total immigration into the UK.

During the last of the televised debates between main party leaders prior to the general election, the liberal party leader stated, emphatically, that 80% of people coming into the UK came from the European Union. Then in the immediate confrontation with the conservative leader following his statement, the liberal leader repeated his claim. The leader used this 80% figure to conclude that the conservative party plan to cap immigration would not work: EU people have free movement within the EU, so any cap could only apply to the small percentage of people who come to the UK from outside the EU.

The liberal leader had got his facts very wrong. Less than half of the people coming into the UK come from the European Union. But we also note that the conservative leader did not seem familiar with the relevant facts either.

So to put the record straight on this basic demographic point, we gave the facts about migration to the UK in a box at the end of section 3c of the UK section of our Population Trends page. We also note that the liberal party leader's statement was about people coming into the UK. Strictly speaking, this refers to immigration only. But even if we look at net immigration, the EU contribution remains well under 50 %.

The Daily Mail had an article about this matter on the first of May.
Daily Mail

31st March 2010
UK. The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, is criticised for misrepresentation of official migration data.

Concern has been expressed by the general public for a long time now about the level of immigration to the UK. Now the Prime Minister in a podcast has quoted figures that suggest the recent fall in net immigration was greater than some people supposed and he in effect argued the figures supported the Labour Party claim that they are improving control of migration. But the Prime Minister got some of his figures wrong and this led to complaints from some quarters to the Chairman of the independent UK Statistics Authority, Sir Michael Scholar. Sir Michael then wrote a letter to the Prime Minister pointing out the mistakes, with copies to persons who had complained about the Prime Ministers figures. Downing Street has said that the Prime Minister later corrected his figures.
Letters from Sir Michael Scholar.
Migration Watch.
The Guardian

28th March 2010
“The Limits to Limits: Is a cap on immigration a viable policy for the UK?”

This is the title of a new study from the UK left-wing Institute for Public Policy Research. The study says that as the General Election draws near, all of the three main political parties want to emphasise they would be tough on immigration. But the Conservative Party has gone further than the other two parties by its talk of a cap on immigration.

The study discusses the impact of a cap against a background of information about actual migration flows. The conclusion is reached that a fixed cap would be “an unworkable policy” and the cap level suggested by the Conservative Party could damage the economy.
Press Release
Full Report

25th February 2010
Latest UK provisional Migration Statistics released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

These statistics of long term migration compare figures for the year ending June 2008 and the year ending June 2009, so are particularly important in relation to the question, how has the recession affected migration?

As far as Total Migration is concerned, total immigration exceeded total emigration, net migration (gross immigration minus gross emigration) being 168,000 in the year to June 2008, 147,000 in the year to June 2009, so a slight fall.
If one considers just non-British citizens, immigration greatly exceeded emigration, as it has now done for many years, net migration in the year to June being 257,000 (2008) and 206,000 (2009).
Contrast the situation with British citizens. Here emigration greatly exceeded immigration, as it has now done for many years, net migration in the year to June being minus 89,000 (2008) and minus 59,000 (2009).

If we look at citizens of the A8 group of countries (countries in central and eastern Europe that joined the European Union in 2004), immigration exceeded emigration in the year ending June in both 2008 and 2009, but the gap between immigration and emigration narrowed between these two periods, net migration being 57,000 (2008) and 10,000 (2009). This narrowing of the gap was caused by a fall in immigration and a rise in emigration.

Information on the contributions of different A8 countries to migration flows is provided by the Worker Registration Scheme. Poland has been the largest contributor of immigrants to Britain since the accession of the A8 countries, but there was a fall in initial applications to the scheme from Poland 2008 to 2009. In contrast, applications from Latvia and Lithuania increased during the same period. But Poland still remained the main country contributing to the total number of applicants in 2009. Applicants from Poland, Latvia and Lithuania together made up 80 per cent of approved applicants in 2009.

ONS. Migration Statistics Quarterly Report February 2009
ONS Material reproduced under the terms of the Click–Use Licence (licence to reproduce public sector information, Office of Public Sector information). Source: National Statistics web site:

15th to 17th February 2010
UK. Some local Councils disagree that many recent migrants from Eastern Europe have gone home and say that immigrants are stretching their resources to the limit.

The government claims that many of the East European migrants only stayed a short while and have now returned home, but town council officials of some towns that have experienced high levels of immigration (Slough, Peterborough and Boston) challenge this view. They claim that so many of the immigrants have in fact stayed in Britain that council health, social care and municipal services remain under severe strain (council officials claim the official immigrant number figures – on which their grants are based – underestimate the actual size of immigrant populations). Some schools now have large and increasing numbers of immigrant children.

Financial Times 15th February
Telegraph 17th February
Daily Mail 18th February

9th and 10th February 2010
UK. The claim that the Labour Party deliberately and secretly promoted immigration to further its social policy, has surfaced again in the media.

The claim, first made last year, was that a draft policy paper by government departments argued for the use of immigration not just for economic purposes, but also to further social policy objectives. Certain sections of the document were subsequently removed so that only an economic reason for promoting immigration remained in the document finally published by the government. It is argued that the original draft document suggested immigration should be used to maximise the government's social aims, including promoting multiculturalism, and the document expressed the view that immigration entry controls can contribute to social exclusion.

It was Mr. Andrew Neather, a former adviser to Tony Blair who disclosed the existence of the draft document, and he claimed that government ministers wanted to "rub the Right's nose in diversity". And it was the organisation Migration Watch that used the Freedom of Information law to make the full document public. When this matter was first raised in the media, Jack Straw, the then Home Secretary, denied that in the early 2000s the Government had a deliberate policy to use immigration for political ends and to attack the Right.

Daily Mail
Telegraph (on the Jack Straw denial)
BBC. Radio 4 (general discussion on the Labour Party's attitude to immigration)
Migration Watch UK

3rd February 2010
UK. Considerable concern over possible adverse effects of high levels of immigration.

A questionnaire about immigration sent out by the Townswomen's Guild to its members produced a much higher level of response than it normally receives to its questionnaires. The response revealed considerable disquiet over levels of immigration to the UK.

95 per cent of respondents felt current immigration levels were damaging the environment, and on the question of cultural identity, 95 per cent thought these immigration levels will cause a loss of national identity to some degree. As for the suggestion by the UK Cross-Party Group on Balanced Migration that net migration should be reduced to 50,000 a year, almost 80 per cent of respondents wanted a much greater reduction! And 77 per cent agreed that in the present political climate, one cannot criticise immigration levels without being branded a racist.
Cross–Party Group onBalanced Migration
Mail Online

22nd January 2010
Doubts about the UK government claim that half the immigrants from the European Union new accession states (the A8) have returned home.

The economic recession led to some people in the UK thinking many immigrants from the new European States (the so-called A8 countries), mainly Poland, would return home. And recent reports from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) came to the conclusion that more than half of such immigrants had in fact done so. The UK Government's Immigration Minister, Phil Woolas accepted this conclusion, saying that figures from the UK's Office of National Statistics showed that half the 1.5 million people that had come here since 2004 from European countries had now returned home.

This conclusion has now been challenged by Professor Krystyna Iglicka, Centre for International Affairs, Warsaw, Poland. She concludes that such a massive return migration has not taken place, and she estimates that about a million Polish migrants are still in Britain. She bases her claim on two sources. First, statistics from the Polish Central Statistics Office showed that the number of Poles working abroad rose consistently until 2008, then fell only very slightly - only a fraction of the British estimates. Second, Prof. Iglicka noted that return migrants who wished to transfer benefits from abroad or claim benefits in Poland, had to register at their local labour offices. And in 2008, only 22,000 had done so in the whole of Poland.

Support for Prof. Iglicka's views came from Dr Pawel Kaczmarczyk, Centre for Migration, Warsaw University, who had set up a website to encourage Polish workers to come home. He also said no great return of Polish migrants had taken place.

Polish workers have been sending home large sums of money to their families in Poland but the amounts fell by about 20 per cent in 2009. But Prof. Iglicka considered this was not because of workers returning home. Rather it was because of the more difficult economic circumstances during the recession in the UK: Polish workers had to spend their money to survive, instead of sending it home.

Mr. Phil Woolas of the UK Home Office said that figures from the UK Office of National Statistics did show that half of the 1.5 million people who had come from European countries had indeed now gone home. Further, in each quarter of 2009, the number of workers from the A8 countries registering to work had fallen by around 30,000. But he admitted that the UK Workers' Registration Scheme (from which estimates were made) did not include either self-employed workers or eastern Europeans from other European Union (EU) countries. However, while there was a pattern of 'circular migration' in the EU, he claimed that some people had been attracted back to Poland through a large EU infrastructure investment fund.

See the following reports:
BBC News
BBC News
Immigration Matters
Mail Online

7th January 2010
Sham marriages.

The problem of foreigners attempting to gain the right to settle in England through sham marriages, has once again become a focus of attention by the media, especially as the result of a BBC investigation that was reported on radio and television channels today. Such marriages are once again on the increase.
“Rise in sham marriages to beat Uk immigration laws”
BBC News

6th January 2010
The UK Parliament Cross Party Group on Balanced Migration (CPGBM) issues a declaration on immigration - “70 million is too many”.

The UK Cross Party Group on Balanced Migration issued a declaration in which the major political parties are urged to "make clear commitments in their General Election manifestos to reduce net immigration..."

The declaration expresses serous concern about the forecasted rapid increase in the population of England. While noting that immigration in the past has brought benefits to British life, recent immigration has reached "unprecedented levels", and a recent parliamentary enquiry found "no evidence that net immigration generates significant economic benefits for the existing UK population".

The declaration states "We are convinced that failure to take action would be seriously damaging to the future harmony of our society".

The declaration was signed by twenty parliamentarians, including the two co-chairmen of the group (one Labour MP, one Conservative MP), Baroness Boothroyd (former Speaker of the House of Commons), and Lord Carey (a formed archbishop of Canterbury).

There was much interest in the media over this declaration, for example from the newspaper Mail Online and the BBC. In their articles, both these sources referred to what Lord Carey said about the need to reduce immigration from his Christian standpoint at the launch of the declaration: The Mail noted Lord Carey argued we need to cut immigration and stand up for Britain's "Christian values", and the BBC reported that Lord Carey said immigration could lead to violence and immigrants should "have an understanding of the country's Christian heritage".
Mail Online
BBC News
See also Times Online

Late December 2009
Hmong ethnic people deported from Thailand to Laos.

Laos lies between Thailand to the west and Vietnam to the east,and its history is bound up with the history of these two neighbouring countries. In 1975 Communist forces overthrew the monarchy in Laos. The US had opposed the communists, and they were assisted by one ethnic group in Laos, the Hmong. And the Hmong also heped the US in its bombing attacks on communist Vietnam. After the Communist take over in Laos, many thousands of Hmong people fled to Thailand, and subsequently many of these refugees settled in the USA and other countries. There is now a refugee camp in Thailand about 300 kilometers north of Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. According to some refugee experts, the camp has been home to a mixture of refugees and economic migrants from Laos. Now the Thailand government decided to deport the Hmong inhabitants of the camp to Laos. The United Nations, and the governments of the USA and some other countries have opposed this deportation on the grounds that these Hmong people may be persecuted if they return to Laos. But the Thailand government says it has been told by the Lao government that they will not be persecuted, and the Hmong were deported from the camp.

This is not the first time that refugees have been expelled from Thailand. Apparently Cambodian people who fled the Khmer Rouge were returned in 1979 and recently some refugees from Myanmar were expelled.

27th December. Thailand says Hmong repatriation imminent.
News Daily Reuters
28th December. Thai military preparing to return Hmong to Laos.
Ki Media
28th December. Thailand deports thousands of Hmong to Laos.
BBC News
29th December. Hmong arrive in Laos after forced repatriation.
BBC News

22nd December 2009
UK. Immigrant pressure on National Health Service.
Press Release from Migration Watch UK:

December 22, 2009

Service under strain as 'Migrant a minute' registers with an NHS doctor

New research published today reveals the pressure that immigration is placing on the NHS.

The research, conducted by Migrationwatch, found that in 2007–8, 605,000 people who arrived from overseas registered with a GP in England and Wales – equivalent to one registration a minute, day and night, throughout the year. This was nearly 100,000 more than the inflow recorded in the International Migration Statistics for England and Wales for the same period. This suggests that short–term migrants (or illegal migrants) have also registered. Only 69,000 of the 605,000 were British people returning from a spell overseas.

The number of arrivals from overseas registering has increased by 50% in the past seven years but it is only in the last three years that registrations have exceeded the inflow of migrants. Of course migrants also leave. 333,000 left England and Wales in 2007–8 but this “churn” together with the additional population adds to the strains on the NHS.

These GP registration data are not precise as they are not compiled for statistical purposes. If anything, they understate the pressure of immigration on the National Health Service as those migrants who move practices within a year would not show up as arrivals from overseas. Furthermore, young men who make up a large proportion of migrants are known to be less likely to register with a GP than other groups.

There are no checks on the entitlement of those who seek to register with a GP, indeed doctors have discretion to register whoever they choose.

Five years ago, in May 2004, the Government issued proposals to exclude overseas visitors from eligibility to free NHS primary and medical services. The then Secretary of State promised “to ensure that the NHS is first and foremost for the benefit of residents in this country” [1]. On 20 July 2009, five years later and on the last day of Parliament, the government issued proposals which included “to maintain GP discretion to determine registration to access free NHS primary care medical services along with the established principle that GPs may charge non–residents as private patients” [2].

Commenting, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migration watch said: “This amounts to an open door to primary care which can also lead to access to secondary care. The government has been dithering while the NHS has been struggling to cope with the extra numbers resulting from mass immigration. In present financial circumstances it is surely obvious that we do not have the resources to cope with the extra ten million people now officially projected over the next 25 years – seven million as a result of immigration.”


End of Press Release.

Intellectual copyright remains the property of MigrationWatch UK © 2001 MigrationWatch UK. All rights reserved.

See also:
Tax Payers Alliance. Daily Mail

15th December 2009
“Muslims in Europe: A Report on 11 EU Cities”. A report from the Open Society Institute and Soros Foundations Network.

This report was based on questionnaires and interviews in the cities of Antwerp, Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Leicester, London, Marseille, Paris, Rotterdam and Stockholm. The report says there are between 15 and 20 million Muslims currently living in the EU, and states this number is expected to double by 2025!

“On the whole, people from different backgrounds in the 11 cities studied by the Open Society Institute said they got along well together and were willing to help each other”. In terms of values there were differences between Muslims and non–Muslims. Muslims rated 'respect for religion'' more highly than non–Muslims. And with 'feelings of belonging', there were also differences. Muslims had a greater feeling of belonging to neighbourhood and city rather than belonging to the nation. In contrast, for non–Muslims, feeling of belonging to the nation was either greater than or similar to feeling of belonging to city and community.

“Religious discrimination against Muslims remains a critical barrier to full and equal participation in society” being a widespread phenomenon that increased during the past five years. European-born Muslim men thought the police were “a key source of unfair treatment and discrimination”. And some Muslim pupils still suffer from racism and prejudice at schools.

On the other hand, the report found that there was frequent contact of Muslims with non–Muslims at work, schools, shops, in public spaces such as transport and parks, and in the home. The report says this finding conflicts with the view that Muslims live parallel or segregated lives, or do not feel a sense of belonging to the city and country where they live. Further, “The majority of Muslim and non–Muslim respondents are involved in mixed ethnic and religious organisations”. Most Muslims wished to live in mixed communities, but the report says housing discrimination restricts the choices of many Muslims.

The report found that Muslims had a strong desire for more ethnically mixed schools and parents were concerned about the harmful impact of segregation on the education and prospects of their children. Further, Muslims are not integrated into the mainstream labour market, and have higher unemployment and poverty rates than the general population. Muslims are often employed in low–paid jobs, which leads them to lead “segregated or parallel working lives”.

“Many Muslims who are not EU citizens remain disenfranchised … and Muslim voters remain less likely than non–Muslim voters to feel that they can influence decisions affecting their city”. The report claims that in terms of degree of trust in city councils and governments, Muslims and non–Muslims “share similar views”.
Executive Summary:
The full report may be accessed at:

8th December 2009
The National Statistician's annual report on the UK population is published. Rather than focusing on some specific aspect of population trends, this report “provides an update on all components of UK population change using the most recent statistics available, noting the effects on both UK population growth and structure”. The report is published in the journal Population Trends.
Population Trends no. 138

26th November 2009
UK. New migration statistics for 2008 released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

“The number of people leaving the UK for 12 months or more reached a record high in 2008, with an estimated 427,000 people emigrating. This was up from 341,000 in 2007 and 398,000 in 2006. This rise was as a result of a 50 per cent increase in non–British citizens emigrating from 169,000 in 2007 to 255,000 in 2008. Just over half of the 86,000 increase were citizens of the A8 Accession countries which joined the EU in 2004”.

“An estimated 590,000 people arrived to live in the UK in 2008, the second highest figure on record after 596,000 in 2006. This compared with 574,000 in 2007 and represents a continuation of the level of immigration seen since 2004. Of all immigrants 505,000 (86 per cent) were non–British citizens in 2008”.

“Net migration, the difference between immigration and emigration, decreased from 233,000 in 2007 to 163,000 as a result of increased emigration”.

There has been a large increase in the number of people emigrating for work related reasons, particularly those with a definite job to go to. In 2008 an estimated 136,000 people emigrated from the UK to take up a definite job, compared with 100,000 in 2007”.

“The International Passenger Survey (IPS) is the main component of these Long–Term International Migration estimates. IPS estimates allow a more detailed analysis of the characteristics of international migrants. This reveals that the increase in emigration of non–British citizens was most notable in the 25 to 44 age group, consistent with higher numbers of people emigrating for work related reasons. The IPS shows an increase in the number of non–British citizens leaving the UK to take up a definite job – up from 45,000 in 2007 to 62,000 in 2008.
IPS estimates also show that Poland was the most popular country of next residence for non–British emigrants in 2008, with 50,000 people migrating there”.


ONS Material reproduced under the terms of the Click–Use Licence (licence to reproduce public sector information, Office of Public Sector information). Source: National Statistics web site:

25th November 2009
“Antarctic climate change and the environment”.

A new report by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) “provides a comprehensive, up–to–date account of how the physical and biological environment of the Antarctic continent and Southern Ocean has changed from Deep Time until the present day”. “In preparing this volume our approach has been highly cross–disciplinary, with the goal of reflecting the importance of the continent in global issues, such as sea level rise, the separation of natural climate variability from anthropogenic influences, food stocks, biodiversity and carbon uptake by the ocean. One hundred experts in Antarctic science have contributed and drafts of the manuscript were reviewed by over 200 scientists”. We make no attempt here to make a survey of the report, rather we pick out a few points of general public interest.

This report highlights the fact that over the last 30 years the ozone hole in the atmosphere over the Antarctic has shielded the continent from much of the effect of global warming. But this hole will not persist indefinitely: over the century ozone concentrations are expected to recover, leading to a significant increase in temperatures across the continent, if greenhouse gas concentrations continue to increase at their present rate. The result will then be the loss of about one third of the sea ice.

New evidence suggests that global sea levels rose at a higher rate than previously projected, during the 1990s and the current century. As for the future, it had previously been thought that between 1980–1999 and 2090–2099 global sea–level rise might be between 18 to 59 cm. “This did not include a contribution from the dynamically driven changes in flow for portions of either the Greenland or Antarctic ice sheets. Recent modelling suggests that by 2100 global sea level may rise by up to 1.4m …”. The rise will not be uniform however, having a minimum in the Southern ocean and a maximum in the Arctic ocean.

Climate change is already having an effect on the flora of the Antarctic, with two native flowering plants (Deschampsia antarctica and Colobanthus quitensis) in the maritime Antarctic, increasing in abundance at some sites. Temperature and precipitation changes “have increased biological production in lakes, mainly due to decreases in the duration and extent of lake ice cover. Some lakes have become more saline due to drier conditions”. And human activity has led to alien microbes, plants and animals becoming established on sub–Antarctic islands and some parts of the continent. As for the future, decline in sea ice is likely to affect the populations of Emperor penguins and other ice–dependent species and true Antarctic species may be displaced by sub-Antarctic species.

The report may be accessed at:
See also BBC News 1st December.

4th November 2009
Migration and climate change.

At the 3rd Global Forum on Migration and Development, UN Secretary–General Ban Ki–moon said on Wednesday that there is a critical need for a deal at the conference on climate change next month in Copenhagen, because we are entering into a critical period when more extreme weather including prolonged droughts, intensive storms and wildfires, will cause people to relocate.

The Secretary–General noted that the threat is already evident, and he cited Bangladesh where floods have temporarily displaced millions of people, and Africa where desertification is leading to people leaving rural areas. He also noted that up to now, such movements have been within countries, but this could well change over time.

Earth Times
The Times of India

2nd November 2009
“700 million worldwide desire to migrate permanently”.

A Gallup poll has found that about 16% of adults in the world would like to move to another country if that was possible.

The poll involved telephone and face–to–face interviews with over 250,000 adults in 135 countries. Gallup produced a map of the world showing the extent of the desire to migrate by continent and region. There is a big variation between continents/regions. The proportion of persons who said yes, they would like to migrate varied from 38% in Sub–Saharan Africa to 10% in Asia (Europe had 19%). 45 million persons who said yes named either the United Kingdom or France as the country to which they would like to go.

22nd October 2009
Ethiopian food crisis, millions face starvation: population growth a contributory factor.

A severe drought in Ethiopia has led to the Ethiopian Government asking the international community to provide emergency food aid for 6.2 million people. The drought has been “brought on by four years of bad harvests...made worse by conflict, climate change and population growth”.
BBC News
See also
The Independent

21st October 2009
2008–based National Population Projections.

Here are the first three paragraphs of the ONS News Release about the projections.

“The population of the United Kingdom is projected to increase by over 4 million to 65.6 million in 2018, according to new population projections released today by the Office for National Statistics. Over the next 25 years, the UK population is projected to rise from an estimated 61.4 million in 2008 to 71.6 million by 2033. It is projected that the population of the UK will exceed 70 million by 2029”.

“The 2008–based national population projections are based on the estimated population at the middle of 2008 and a set of demographic assumptions about the future. The projections are not forecasts, and do not attempt to predict the impact that future government policies, changing economic circumstances or other factors might have on demographic behaviour. These new projections replace the previous 2006–based projections published by ONS in October 2007”.

“Of the 10.2 million projected increase in the UK population over the next 25 years, 55 per cent is projected natural increase (more births than deaths) and 45 per cent is projected net migration. However, future numbers of births and deaths are themselves partly dependent on future migration. Taking this into account, just over two–thirds of the projected total increase in the UK population between 2008 and 2033 is expected to be either directly or indirectly due to future migration”.

Click here to read the whole News release:
More detailed information may be accessed here:

Some more information:
“UK population to exceed 65m by 2018”.

“The UK population is projected to increase by 4.3 million by 2018. This increase is equivalent to an average annual rate of growth of 0.7 per cent”. “If past trends continue, the population will continue to grow, reaching 71.6 million by 2033”.

“…the UK has an ageing population. The proportion of people aged 65 and over is projected to increase from 16 per cent in 2008 to 23 per cent by 2033”.

“As a result, despite the forthcoming rises in state pension age, old age support ratios will fall. In 2008, there were 3.2 people of working age for every person of state pensionable age. This ratio is projected to fall to 2.8 by 2033, taking into account the future changes to state pension age”.

“Trends differ for the four countries of the UK. The populations of England and Northern Ireland are projected to increase by 7 per cent by 2018 and Wales by 5 per cent. The projected increase for Scotland, where fertility and life expectancy levels are assumed to remain lower than in the rest of the UK, is 4 per cent”.

ONS Material reproduced under the terms of the Click–Use Licence (licence to reproduce public sector information, Office of Public Sector information). Source: National Statistics web site:

Beginning of October 2009
“Human Development Report challenges common migration misconceptions”.

This is the title of the Press Release for the 2009 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report, entitled “Overcoming barriers: Human mobility and development”.

The first two paragraphs show the basic opinion of the UNDP:
“Allowing for migration – both within and between countries – has the potential to increase people's freedom and improve the lives of millions around the world, according to the 2009 Human Development Report launched here today.
“We live in a highly mobile world, where migration is not only inevitable but also an important dimension of human development. Nearly one billion – or one out of seven people – are migrants. The Report, Overcoming barriers: Human mobility and development, demonstrates that migration can enhance human development for the people who move, for destination communities and for those who remain at home”.

The press release may be viewed at:
Press Release
And the full report may be downloaded at:
Full Report

End of September 2009
Population Growth and Climate Change.

Recently the Optimum Population Trust (OPT) stated that “All environmental problems, and notably those arising from climate change, would be easier to solve with a smaller future population. Population restraint in rich countries and communities would reduce the future number of major carbon emitters (who will also be victims) Restraint in poor countries and communities would reduce the number of minor emitters and likely major victims”. And OPT recommended that climate change negotiators should recognise, amongst other things, “that population restraint is a necessary, though not sufficient, condition for the solution of the problems caused by climate change”.

Now a somewhat different slant on the significance of human population growth for climate change has been produced by Davis Satterthwaite of the International Institute for Environment and Development -IIED). In his paper he argues that “it is not the growth in (urban or rural) populations that drives the growth in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but rather, the growth in consumers and in their levels of consumption. A significant proportion of the world's urban (and rural) populations have consumption levels that are so low that they contribute little or nothing to such emissions”.

24th September 2009
UK. A government department in effect admits that global human population growth increases adverse pressures on the environment, in a new report from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA): “Safeguarding our Soils. A Strategy for England”.

Here is the foreword to the report by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Hilary Benn. The third paragraph contains the reference to human population growth (we have put the relevant bit in bold type).

“Along with air and water, soil is one of the building blocks of life. It gives us food, clothing and fuel. It supports our buildings and infrastructure, stores water and carbon, is home to a wide range of biodiversity and sustains some of our most valued landscapes. Yet it is so much a part of everyday life, in our gardens, parks and even window boxes, that there’s a danger of taking it for granted.

“I am always struck by the words of President Franklin D Roosevelt over 70 years ago when, promoting the first measures in the world to protect soil, he said “The Nation that destroys its soil destroys itself”. He understood the value of soil and the importance to economies and societies of protecting it.

“But our soils face pressures now that Roosevelt could never have envisaged. Increasing demands for food and fuel from a growing global population that is forecast to reach 9 billion by 2050, pressures for more land for new housing and transport infrastructure and, most significantly, climate change" (our bold text).

“These new pressures will exacerbate many of the threats that soils already face in providing their range of ecosystem services. Soil erosion due to wind and rainfall already results in the annual loss of around 2.2 million tonnes of topsoil in the UK. This costs British farmers £9m a year in lost production. Climate change has the potential to increase erosion rates through hotter, drier conditions that make soils more susceptible to wind erosion, coupled with intense rainfall incidents that can wash soil away.

“Soils are an important store of carbon, with those in the UK containing around 10 billion tonnes of carbon, half of which is found in our peat habitats. Losing this store to the atmosphere would create emissions that are equivalent to more than 50 times the UK’s current annual greenhouse gas emissions. As the climate warms and rainfall patterns change, there is a growing risk that emissions to the atmosphere from soil will increase, in turn causing further climate change as well as reducing the soil’s productive capacity.

“Managing the impact of construction and development on soils’ essential functions, like absorbing rainwater, is vital. We need to ensure that the planning system provides the appropriate level of protection for good quality agricultural land. While many sources of soil pollution have been dealt with through environmental regulation, challenges remain if we are to manage more diffuse sources, including from atmospheric deposition and spreading waste materials on land, and deal with our industrial legacy of contaminated land.

“The new Soil Strategy for England – Safeguarding our Soils – outlines the Government’s approach to safeguarding our soils for the long term. It provides a clear vision to guide future policy development across a range of areas and sets out the practical steps that we need to take to prevent further degradation of our soils, enhance, restore and ensure their resilience, and improve our understanding of the threats to soil and best practice in responding to them.

“This Strategy supports the aims of the EU Thematic Strategy on Soil Protection but clearly demonstrates the value of national action to protect soils which is responsive to local circumstances. That is why I believe the harmonised European approach that is currently proposed in the draft EU Soil Framework Directive is not the right one.

“Good quality soils are essential to achieve Defra’s goals of a thriving farming sector and a sustainable, healthy food supply, as well as securing a healthy environment in which we and future generations can prosper. I believe that this Strategy is an important step in increasing the value we place on soil and setting a framework for safeguarding this vital resource now and in the future”.

(end of the foreword)

Attention is again drawn to population growth in paragraph 23 of the Executive Summary:
“Pressures on our soils and competition for land are likely to increase in future with expected population growth. We need to understand these trends better and the changing demands on our soils. We also need to ensure that appropriate consideration is given to soils in the planning process and we will publish a new toolkit for planners in 2010 to help them to take account of soil functions, including soil carbon storage, in the planning system”.

The DEFRA report “Safeguarding our Soils. A Strategy for England” is © Crown copyright 2009.

We would like to draw readers attention to our book: Barker, J.F. (2000). “England in the New Millennium. Are we prepared to save our countryside?”. This includes a detailed description of the then existing agricultural measures to protect and improve the quality of farm land and makes proposals to improve farming practice and countryside protection.

9th September 2009
“New housing enough to meet demand of new immigrants for just one week”.

The Co– Chairmen of the UK parliament Cross Party Group on Balanced Migration comment on the government's plan to build 2,000 council houses across England:
“While the Government's announcement on council housing is welcome, the extra housing required for new migrants to Britain and their families would fill the 2,000 houses in just over a week. If the Government are really interested in tackling the housing problem, they should start by cutting back immigration to the level of emigration. That would reduce demand for new homes by nearly 40% – and is the only part of housing demand which the Government can directly influence”.
Cross Party Group

8th September 2009
UK “Police spend £300,000 on interpreters”.

A Northampton Chronicle and Echo newspaper article says that the Tories used the Freedom of Information Act to gain access to information on the cost of police force translation services for work dealing with foreign nationals. The force had spent a total of £324,758 on translators during 2008 compared with £63,000 in 2003.

Temporary deputy chief constable Derek Talbot said “The service offers interpreters who can speak 45 different languages”. He also said that the translation costs had been factored into policing budgets and that the force was committed to getting value for money.

“Police have said translators are necessary both for victims and perpetrators of crimes, but shadow immigration minister Damian Green, who submitted the Freedom of Information request, said the statistics showed the strain immigration had put on public services”.
Northampton Chronicle and Echo

7th September 2009
UK. “Immigration fuels need for hundreds more primary schools”.

On the basis of research carried out for the UK parliament Cross Party Group on Balanced Migration by Migration Watch, the group claims that:

  • 67,000 places needed for children of non–UK born parents
  • Estimated £1 billion cost of building new schools
  • Estimated £200 million annual cost of extra pupils

The Co-Chairmen of the group commented:
“This research illustrates how uncontrolled immigration is directly affecting ordinary families. The government have clearly failed to plan for the consequences of the mass immigration they have permitted. Today’s research highlights primary school places but the same applies to health, housing and other services. The research is yet more evidence that the Government must take steps to reduce immigration so as to prevent our population from reaching 70 million within the next 25 years, as official forecasts now predict, if public services and the public purse are to be protected”.
Cross Party Group on Balanced Migration

Late August early September 2009
“New controls help protect jobs for British workforce”.

The UK Government is bringing in a series of measures designed to ensure that UK workers will have more opportunity to fill vacancies before they are offered to workers from abroad: “...from next year, all jobs must be advertised to British workers in Jobcentre Plus for four weeks – extended from two weeks – before companies can seek to employ individuals from outside Europe”.

On worker transfers from overseas, the time period ('qualifying period') for overseas workers who wish to transfer to work at their company's United Kingdom base will be extended. Further there is currently a minimum salary a worker must have to qualify to be able to come to the UK to work as a 'skilled worker'. This minimum salary will be raised.
UK Border Agency

These proposed new measures have received a lot of attention from the Media.
For example, the Guardian newspaper 3oth August had an article headed “CBI says migrant worker cuts could threaten UK jobs too”. The article said this claim was based on “an internal survey by the CBI employers' group seen by the Guardian”. The article said employers warned that “deep cuts in the numbers of migrant workers coming from outside Europe to Britain could lead to the loss of British jobs as companies relocate to more immigration–friendly countries”.
The Telegraph newspaper had an article 7th September headed: “Alan Johnson hopes for British jobs for British workers”. The article said that The Home Secretary, Mr Johnson, had accepted the findings of a Migration Advisory Committee study which put forward the new measures. The article sees these proposed measures as part of the Prime Ministers attempt to ensure British jobs go to British workers, but notes that previous attempts by the government to achieve this objective came in for a lot of criticism.

27th August 2009
UK. “Latest migration statistics published”.

Main conclusions about international migration trends to and from the UK in the year ending December 2008 compared with the year ending December 2007:

  1. Total migration. Total immigration was 527,000 persons in 2007, 512,000 persons in 2008, so only a small change between the years. Total emigration was 318,000 in 2007, 395,000 in 2008, a large rise (24%) between years. Net Immigration was 209,000 in 2007, 118,000 in 2008, so a large (44%) reduction between years.
  2. Non–British citizen migration. Total immigration was 456,000 in 2007, 441,000 in 2008, so only a small change between years. Total emigration was 158,000 in 2007, 237,000 in 2008, a large rise (50%) between years. Net immigration was 298,000 in 2007, 205,000 in 2008, a large reduction (31%) between years.
  3. A8 Accession countries migration. Total immigration was 109,000 in 2007, 79,000 in 2008, so a large decline (28%) between years. Total emigration was 25,000 in 2007, 66,000 in 2008, a massive rise (164%) between years. Net immigration was 84,000 in 2007, only 14,000 in 2008, a massive reduction of 83%.


“Latest migration statistics published”.
Table 1. International Passenger Survey (IPS) estimates of long–term international migration. Rolling annual data to Q4 2008.

ONS Material reproduced under the terms of the Click–Use Licence (licence to reproduce public sector information, Office of Public Sector information). Source: National Statistics web site:

27th August 2009
Three new Press releases by the UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) give latest estimates of population growth, live births and fertility.

Main conclusions:

  • The UK population has now risen to over 61 million (R1).
  • Population growth is caused by natural change (the difference between number of births and number of deaths) and net international migration. “Natural change was the largest contributor to population growth until the year to mid–1999 and more recently in the year to mid–2008. Between these periods, net migration has been the main driver of population change. In the year to mid 2002, net migration accounted for over 70% of the total population change”. But in the year to mid–2008, natural change “accounted for over half of total population growth (54%)” (R1) .
  • “This increase in natural change is mainly attributable to a growth in the number of births although a decrease in the numbers of deaths over this period has also played a part” (R1).
  • “The number of births is increasing partly due to rising fertility among UK born women and partly because there are more women of childbearing ages due to inflows of female migrants to the UK” (R1).
  • “There was a continued rise in the proportion of births to mothers born outside the UK: 24 per cent in 2008 compared with 23 per cent in 2007. In 1998, 14 per cent of births were to non–UK born mothers” (R2).
  • “The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) in the UK reached 1.96 children per woman in 2008, the highest level since 1973. The UK TFR has increased each year since 2001, when it hit a record low of 1.63” (R3).
  • Recent trends in fertility rates vary between age groups: “The last three decades have seen strong upward trends in the fertility of UK women in their thirties and forties. Women aged 30–34 have experienced the greatest absolute increase in fertility over this period, with rates rising from 64.1 births per 1,000 women in 1978 to 113.1 in 2008. As a consequence, women aged 30–34 have had the highest fertility of any age group since 2004”. (R3).

The three Press Releases (corresponding to the three Rx references given above):

  1. Population Change.
  2. Live births.
  3. Fertility.

ONS Material reproduced under the terms of the Click–Use Licence (licence to reproduce public sector information, Office of Public Sector information). Source: National Statistics web site:

Late August 2009
“Employers should be made to recruit in UK before transferring workers from overseas offices”. An article by Ann Swain, Chief Executive of the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (Apsco).

In this article Ann Swain writes about the transfer to the UK by UK organisations, of foreign non-European Union personnel by what is termed 'intra–company transfers'. In the article she says that a growing number of foreign workers are entering the UK by this mechansim when there is in fact “an abundance of home grown talent”, so that “the UK jobs market is effectively being bypassed”.

Apsco obtained data by making use of the Freedom of Information Act. It was found that the majority (83%) of the 35,430 non–EU workers coming to work in the UK in 2008 were brought in using the intra–company transfer mechanism. It appears from the article that most of these transfers were from India, although this is not actually stated as a fact in the article.

Recently Apsco recommended to the UK Home Office that the existing law should be changed so that in future employers would have to advertise their vacancies in the UK before they transferred any employees from overseas offices.

August 2009
Drought causes India to import food.

The Indian government has decided to import food because of the drought that is affecting nearly half of India's districts. The finance minister said commodities that are in short supply will be imported. Pulses and edible oil are already in short supply but there are sufficient grain stocks to meet current requirements.
The Economic Times. 22nd August

The Indian government wishes to rein in prices of staple foods, but that may not be easy. Efforts to encourage imports have so far had only limited success because of higher international prices. And in two previous years when India decided to import large quantities of wheat when domestic stocks were falling, this pushed up international prices causing Indian import prices to rise.
Wall Street Journal. India. 13th August

See also BBC. 21st August

We referred to the food situation in India in 2007 in our essay “Population growth and environmental deterioration. Are things finally coming together for mankind's doom?” That essay is accessed from the Analysis section, Comment and Analysis page. We wrote:
“Developments in the Indian subcontinent have played a major part in causing world grain prices to rise. Last year, the subcontinent swung dramatically from exporting surplus wheat to importing it. And this September, India, the second biggest global consumer of wheat, waded into the global market by trying to buy 50 per cent more of the grain than suppliers were offering, contributing to further global price rises. In fact India imported 6.7 million tonnes of wheat last year to replenish stocks. By the end of the current year, because of higher international prices and improved home production, India is expected to have imported less – 3 million tonnes; but even this is an enormous amount of grain”.

10th August 2009
“'Radical rethink' needed on food”.

The UK Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn, has warned that we need a 'radical rethink' of the way the UK produces and consumes food.

He warned that while currently food supply was secure, population growth and climate change could have an impact. He noted that globally there would be two and a half to three billion more people to feed over the next few decades and over the past few years global and UK food prices have been rising. This and last year's jump in the prices of oil (needed to produce fertilisers) and of food, was a “a wake–up call”.

BBC News.

We in turn note that a long time ago (2nd November 2007) we drew attention to the the basic problem of food supply, noting the connections between population growth, climate change, food and oil price increases, and security against unrest in our essay “Population growth and environmental deterioration. Are things finally coming together for mankind's doom?” .That essay is accessed from the Analysis section, Comment and Analysis page.

5th August 2009
“New research shows that exodus of immigrants from UK is speeding up”.

So says the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in its News Release about its new report entitled “Shall we stay or shall we go: re-migration trends among Britain's immigrants”.

More than 3 million immigrants to the UK in the last 30 years subsequently left, and this exodus is increasing. Also, short–stay immigrants (those who spend less than four years in the UK) doubled between 1996 and 2007.

The Executive Summary however, adds an interesting point about short–and long–stay immigrants:
It is migrants from more developed countries (including the EU) that tend to stay for shorter periods; in contrast, “migrants from poorer countries are more likely to stay for longer, or settle permanently..”. This is in fact not a new discovery – we have been saying this for a long time on our Population Trends page based on various published sources.

IPPR Press Release

21st July 2009
“Bogus colleges”.

The UK House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has issued a report on “bogus colleges”. “In the context of this Report, the term ‘bogus college‘ refers to an illegitimate educational establishment set up primarily to enable non–European Economic Area (EEA) nationals to come to the UK on fraudulent student visas”.

The report concludes there are many bogus colleges in the UK that are facilitating the entry into Britain of persons using such visas: “The Minister of State for Borders and Immigration told us that the Home Office issues around 200,000 student visas each year. Witnesses were unable to give an accurate estimate as to how many of these students entered the country via bogus colleges but the Chief Executive of English UK, Tony Millns, said ‘it could be tens of thousands quite easily‘”.

The report also states:
“Insufficient quality assurance procedures on the part of the Department for Innovations, Universities and Skills for private educational establishments on the Register of Education Providers, which facilitated the issuing of student visas between 2005 and 2009, allowed bogus colleges to bring foreign nationals into the UK on fraudulent student visas. We are pleased that the UK Border Agency has recognised the deficiencies of this system and introduced more rigorous regulation of educational establishments sponsoring student visas under the Points Based System. However, we remain cautious about the UK Border Agency’s ability to deal with this issue and will continue to monitor sponsorship arrangements once Tier 4 of the Points Based System has been fully implemented”.

And: “We are extremely disappointed that the Government has ignored repeated warnings from the education sector about the problem of bogus colleges. While the new sponsorship system under the points based immigration system should help to prevent bogus colleges, we consider that a more complete means of prevention requires the compulsory regulation of private further education colleges and English language schools by the state”.

However, the report also states:
“We found no substantial evidence to corroborate the alleged link between bogus colleges and terrorist activity. The Pakistani nationals who entered the country on fraudulently–obtained student visas and who were arrested in Operation Pathway in April 2009 were subsequently released without charge. As far as we are aware, foreign students involved in previous terrorist plots have entered the UK on genuine student visas. Our evidence suggested that most individuals entering the UK on fraudulently obtained student visas do so in order to work illegally”.

Read the Reuters News Agency item on this report:
The actual report may be accessed here:
Home Affairs Committee

Parliamentary material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO on behalf of Parliament.

15th July 2009
“Immigration a major reason for pressure on primary school places”.

The UK parliament Cross-Party Group on Balanced Migration issued a press release where the co-chairmen claimed “The need to increase funding for primary schools is a direct result of mass immigration feeding into our population”. The press release gave some rather startling data including:

  • Since 2001, while births to UK born mothers rose by 6.4%, the births to foreign born mothers rose by 65%, reaching 24% of mothers in England in 2007.
  • In London however, the percentage of births to foreign mothers rose to 54% in 2007, and an even higher level in inner London taken alone – 60%!

Press Release

13th July 2009
“Neither Labour nor Conservatives will stop the population hitting 70m”, says Migration Watch UK.

Here is the Migration Watch UK full press release:

“Both Conservatives and Labour 'conning' the public on immigration. New research shows neither party will stop UK's population hitting 70 million.

As the latest immigration Bill comes to the House of Commons on Tuesday for its final approval, new research published today shows that the immigration policies of neither the Conservative Party nor the Labour Party will stop the UK's population hitting 70 million – up from 61 million today.

The official forecast is that, in the absence of major policy changes, we will reach this point in 20 years time with nearly all the increase in England.

To avoid the UK population hitting 70 million – nine million more than today – net migration needs to be reduced from 237,000 (the 2007 figure) to 50,000, and held there. This is a 75% reduction.

To stabilise our population at 65 million we need a 100% reduction so that immigration is equal to emigration.

Under Labour's policies, immigration would fall by 8% – a fall of just 20,000 to 217,000. This is their own claim based on what would have happened if their so – called “tough” Points Based System been in place last year.

Under Conservative policies, immigration would fall by 27% – from 237,000 to 172,000.

This is despite the fact that

 – the Immigration Minister has pledged “This Government isn't going to allow the population to go up to 70 million” (The Times, 18th October 2008)

 – the Conservative Leader saying he wants net migration to be reduced to “the sort of figure it was in the 80s and 90s” (BBC Radio 5 Live, 15th February 2009). Overall net immigration in the 1980s averaged about 17,000 a year. The average for 1990–97 was 45,000.

Commenting on the research, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migrationwatch UK, said:

‘The main parties talk tough on immigration, but they are trying to ‘con‘ the British public. According to Government figures, we can expect almost another 10 million people in England in 20 years time of which seven million will be due to immigration – equivalent to seven cities the size of Birmingham. Current Labour policy won‘t begin to address this. The Conservatives are barely better: despite their rhetoric, they have a lightweight policy that sounds tough but won't deliver.

‘Until the main parties decide to be honest about an issue crucial to the future of our society and until they get real about the measures needed, extremist groups will continue to have a ball,‘ he said”.

Intellectual copyright remains the property of MigrationWatch UK © 2001 MigrationWatch UK. All rights reserved.

The full Briefing Paper – briefing paper number 11.13, may be accessed at Migration Watch UK

7th July 2009
“Research finds no bias in allocation of social housing”.

UK. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) today published a report it had commissioned from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) that found no bias in allocation of social housing to immigrants.

The report says that there are “widely-held fears that the allocation process puts white British families at a disadvantage and that migrants are 'cheating' the system. This myth is often at the core of discriminatory behaviour and contributes to tension and violence in many areas”. But the evidence suggests this myth is untrue.

Housing allocation policies were analysed and this showed no evidence that social housing allocation favours foreign migrants over UK citizens. However, a small amount of evidence suggested that policies may sometimes have discriminated against ethnic minorities because some members of these minorities had insufficient understanding of their housing rights.

Also one must put the provision of housing to immigrants in the social housing sector in the context of total housing provision. If one divides the UK population into UK–born and Foreign–Born, both groups have a similar proportion of persons living in social housing (about one in six people). Further, with migrants to the UK in the last five years, more have bought their own homes (17 per cent) than live in social housing (11 per cent). And the report notes that the Labour Force Survey shows “foreign–born populations who have arrived in the UK during the last five years are overwhelmingly housed in the private rental sector, and not in social housing“.

EHRC Press Release
EHRC Report

2nd July 2009
“Surge in Remittances Points to Sharp Rise in Illegal Immigrants from Pakistan”.

Migration Watch UK has looked at the number of Pakistani born workers in Britain and the remittances sent home by these workers. While since 2001, the number of registered workers has risen by 67%, workers remittances are now six times higher than they were in 2001. This suggested to Migration Watch that even if remittances per head had doubled during this time period, this could not produce anything like the massive rise in remittances that has actually taken place. Migration Watch calculates that in addition to the 180,000 Pakistani workers in the official Labour Force Survey, there must be around 170,000 other Pakistani workers. “The only plausible explanation for such a rapid increase in remittances from Pakistan is a sharp rise in the number of illegal immigrants sending money home”.

As a check on the basic method used in this work, Migration Watch examined remittances by Philipino workers to the Philippines. Here while remittances in 2008 to the Philippines from the UK were nearly six times those in 2001 the number of Filipino born workers in the work force trebled over the same period.

Migration Watch UK Press Release
Migration Watch UK Report

30th June 2009
UK. “At last, the truth about immigration and council house queue jumping”.

A new Press Article by Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, challenges the official view on provision of housing for immigrants.

The article points out that waiting lists for social housing have grown so fast in six years that the supply of this housing has fallen far behind the demand. One reason, the paper says, is the number of asylum seekers that have been given the right to remain in Britain and then offered social housing.

The article says that politicians have frequently assured us asylum seekers do not get social housing and this is to a certain extent true since, while their cases are being decided, they are given private rented accomodation, although this is at public expense. But if they are given permission to stay, they can opt to go on housing lists. Since more asylum seekers have been given permission to stay in Britain than the government has built social housing for, the waiting lists have grown longer.

Now with these lists, allocation is based on 'need'. But need is strongly influenced by family size. And once a migrant or asylum seeker has been granted residence, he can bring in his whole family, and that moves him up the priority list.

Now a 2006 study in one part of the east end of London found that 'need' had been so interpreted that it favoured workers from Bangladesh and these were bringing over their families, resulting in stronger bonding between members of the Bangladeshi community. But young British workers were being pushed out to Essex, while their parents stayed behind in their council houses, resulting in a weakening of “the traditional working–class family structure” of the British workers.

The article may be accessed at:
Migration Watch UK

24th and 28th June 2009
Two items from the Cross-Party Group for Balanced Migration.

28th June. UK. New jobs going to British-born and foreign-born workers in recent years. With the total working population over the age of 16, 85% of new jobs in the private sector have gone to non-UK born workers; in the public sector, 28% went to non-UK born workers.

24th June. UK. New figures from the Regional Trends of the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show there will be four million more households in Great Britain by the year 2021. Of these over one million will be in London and the South East of England. The Cross-Party group estimates that immigration will account for almost 40% of all new household formation in England.

Cross-Party Group for Balanced Migration

June 2009
Likely under-estimation of the effects of population factors in a study on climate change.

A new paper from Population Action International examines the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and concludes that the effect of population changes on emissions in that report was probably under-estimated.

The reason is, the paper claims, that while the SRES report showed the effect of population size changes on emissions, it did not account for other demographic trends such as urbanization, age structure, and household composition; also in the report's population projections, the importance of fertility decline may have been over-emphasised.
Population Action International

May 2009
Economic impact on the London and UK economy of an earned regularisation of irregular migrants to the UK.

The Greater London Authority commissioned some staff from the London School of Economics to carry out a study of the effect of granting an amnesty to illegal immigrants (referred to by them as 'irregular' migrants).

The number of such migrants in the UK and in London is not known, but the authors produce a central estimate of the number of irregular residents (ie, migrants and their children) in the UK at the end of 2007 – 618,000, with a range of 417,000 – 863,000. As far as London is concerned, they give three estimates for the end of 2007, a 'low', a 'central' and an 'upper' (thousands): 281, 442 and 630 respectively – so there is very considerable uncertainty!

The amnesty would only apply to irregular immigrants who had been in the UK for at least five years. This was estimated to be 62 per cent of all irregular immigrants. The assumption behind this estimate was that the likelihood of irregular migrants remaining was similar to the likelihood of regular migrants from the same countries remaining.

The report concludes that regularisation could be expected to increase national output because it would enable a greater proportion of irregular residents to work and to make better use of their human capital. Regularisation could add around £3 billion per annum (or 0.2 per cent) to GDP in the long term. This assumes that supportive policies were put in place, and that the employment rates of irregulars could be improved by six percentage points and their earnings improved by 25 per cent.

Regularisation would incur costs: For the UK as a whole, public service costs might increase by £410 per annum but “potentially available welfare costs” might over time raise this to £1 billion, and there would be a one–off cost of the regularisation scheme and administration of £300 million. On the other hand, regularisation might increase tax revenue by £846 million per annum. With London there might be £240 million for public service costs; £713 million when including welfare costs plus £210 million one off costs, compared with around £596 million per annum additional tax revenue.

The authors consider that in terms of public services, costs would be relatively low, primarily because for most services, access “does not depend on regularity per se, but on whether or not migrants are ‘subject to immigration control’”.

There has been much discussion across the world about whether or not granting amnesties encourages further irregular migration. The authors of this report conclude this in unlikely to happen with the amnesty here proposed. The reason they give is that the position in the UK is different from that of countries where most of the evidence suggesting granting an amnesty encourages further irregular immigration has come from. The difference is that in those countries much of the illegal immigration has come across land borders from nearby countries, whereas in the UK most irregular migrants come from much further afield which, they think, makes large–scale irregular migration much less likely. They add and it "could only occur if border controls were ineffective". However, on this last point, we point out that there is evidence that our border controls have not been very effective.

Greater London Authority

Migration Watch released a Press Release on this report 16th June, as follows:

Migrationwatch comment on GLA report on illegal immigration issued today.

'These are very expensive proposals which would only make a bad situation worse. On the report's own figures they would cost £300m in bureaucracy and £3m a week in benefits (our figure is £10m a week. See also Briefing Paper 11.11 – The True Cost of an Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants). It would also cost £6bn to provide the extra social housing needed.

Worse still, it would encourage still further illegal immigration as other countries have found. Italy has granted five amnesties in the last twenty years and Spain six; on virtually every occasion there were more applications each time. The report has no answer to this. it just remarks that it would only happen if border controls were ineffective.

But that is exactly the position we still face. We issue two million visas a year and there will be no full checks on departure until 2014, obviously, those granted an amnesty would be replaced at the drop of a hat.

The public have the common sense to see this. Our opinion poll showed seventy per cent opposed to an amnesty.

The recent European elections must surely be a lesson to the political class that they can no longer ride roughshod over public opinion with absurd, expensive and self–defeating proposals such as these. It seems that Boris Johnson is trying to buy the immigrant vote with taxpayer's money. They will know how to respond to this'.”

Migration Watch

Intellectual copyright remains the property of MigrationWatch UK © 2001 MigrationWatch UK. All rights reserved.

If over time, this particular press release does not immediately appear at this link, simply go to “Press Releases” on the left side of the page to access this and other press releases.

May 2009
“In Search of Shelter. Mapping the Effects of Climate Change on Human Migration and Displacement”.

“The impacts of climate change are already causing migration and displacement. Although the exact number of people that will be on the move by mid–century is uncertain, the scope and scale could vastly exceed anything that has occurred before. People in the least developed countries and island states will be affected first and worst. The consequences for almost all aspects of development and human security could be devastating. There may also be substantial implications for political stability”.

So says a new report written by Koko Warner, the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security; Charles Ehrhart, CARE International; and Alex de Sherbinin, Susana Adamo, and Tricia Chai–Onn, Center for International Earth Science Information Network at the Earth Institute of Columbia University.

Mixed sources

20th May 2009
UK. Public concerned about the level of immigration.

A new YouGov poll commissioned by the organisation Migration Watch for the Parliamentary Cross Party Group on Balanced Migration showed considerable concern by the British public about the level of immigration.

The Poll results may be accessed at YouGov
and the Migration Watch press release at Migration Watch (scroll down to May 20th).

Due to a Gaia Watch holiday, this news item only posted to the web 8th June.

Mid May 2009
New information on international migration released by the ONS.

This new release of data brings the situation up as far as September 2008. We give here some key facts.
Total net international migration decreased in 2008, but still remained high (total net international migration is the balance of gross immigration and gross emigration; the number was positive – i.e. gross immigration exceeded gross emigration).
The decrease in net international migration was caused by an increase in gross emigration.
Net emigration of British citizens has been massive for some years now. It continued at a high but reduced rate in 2008.
Net immigration of non–British citizens continued at a high but reduced level in 2008.
As far as total A8 citizen numbers are concerned, immigration continued at a high but slightly reduced level. But emigration increased considerably so that net total migration decreased. The increase in emigration of A8 citizens has been the main focus of the media on the ONS data release.

Total net international migration in recent times was highest for the year ending December 2007, and was lowest for the year ending September 2008. The table below gives data for these two periods.

Year All citizenships British Non-British European Union European Union 15 European Union A8 Old Commonwealth New Commonwealth Other foreign
YE Dec 07 +209 -89 +298 +116 +28 +84 +12 +99 +71
YE Sep08p +147 -90 +237 +68 +14 +44 +10 +92 +67
YE stands for Year Ending. p indicates includes provisional estimates for 2008

The data can be accessed at the Office of National Statistics Web site. Click on the link below. This brings up a list of items. Click on any item to access it. The key item is “IPS estimates of long–term international migration year ending September 2008”.
An article about these new figures from the BBC may be accessed at

Material reproduced under the terms of the Click–Use Licence. Source: National Statistics website:
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI).

Late April – early May 2009
An amnesty for illegal immigrants?

The Mayor of London has proposed an amnesty for illegal immigrants. The question then arises, would this really benefit the UK? Two organisations have now produced reports that have a bearing on this matter. The first, by Migration Watch, argues against granting an amnesty, concluding this would create a massive financial burden. The second from the Institute for Public Policy Research, while agreeing that an amnesty is not the right way to go about dealing with illegal immigrants, argues that it would be beneficial to incorporate illegal immigrants more fully into the economy.

Migration Watch has carried out research to find the hidden costs to the taxpayer of granting an amnesty to illegal immigrants. The research examined the 'total lifetime cost', that is the cost during the working life and also the retirement period.

The Migration Watch research took as exemplar a man who was 25 years old, was married and had two children, lived in private rented accommodation, worked for a minimum wage, and, not having a pension, would on retirement receive Pension Credit, and it was assumed the man would live for 15 years in retirement.

The main result of the research was the conclusion: the amnesty "would cost taxpayers, on average, an extra £1 million over the lifetime of each immigrant". Migration Watch also points out that all this would be starting at a time when the Nation's finances are in serious difficulty, adding a totally unnecessary further burden on the nation's balance sheet.

And Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migration Watch added the often expressed view that granting the amnesty would in effect reward illegal behaviour and encourage even more illegal immigration to the UK, just as it has, in his view, already done so in Italy and Spain.

Migration Watch. Press Release
Migration Watch. Briefing paper

Now the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) does not like the term 'illegal immigrants'. The report argues that the term is a 'value-laden' term. It stresses the fact that there are different categories of illegal immigrant, some more illegal than others. It substitutes the term 'irregular immigrants'. We do not see the fact that illegal immigrants come so to speak in different colours, can ever be a reason for abandoning the term 'illegal immigrants'. They are illegal. They should not be here. 'Illegal' is simply the correct term, legally, morally and in common sense terms.

The report details the different categories of what we will continue to call illegal immigrants in what follows:

  • Clandestine entrants – migrants who enter the country illegally (IPPR states these are only a relatively small proportion of all illegal immigrants).
  • Clandestine residents – persons who enter the country legally but who stay on after the time when they are legally allowed to be in Britain, for example, persons entering as asylum seekers but who are subsequently judged to not have adequate reasons for claiming asylum.
  • Clandestine workers – persons who have been granted permission to work but only with set restrictions that they have ignored.

The IPPR states what has become a common claim about illegal immigrants – and we will not here challenge the claim – namely, that they do jobs the native people will not do, so they consequently benefit the economy. But, the IPPR argues, if these illegal immigrants were, unlike now, working in the “legal and regular economy”, they would boost the economy to the tune of £1 billion in taxes per year.

The IPPR does not think that granting an overall amnesty is the right way to proceed to tackle the problem of illegal migration. Rather, it has a set of alternative proposals.

Institute for Public Policy research

15th April 2009
UK. “True size of migrant population 'unknown'”.

Research workers at the University of Salford conclude that while 760,935 migrant workers are registered in the UK, there are at least another 253,645 not officially recognised. One reason that such workers are not recognised is that one in ten migrant workers work for 'cash in hand' and so would not be registered. But they also conclude that migrant workers are not taking jobs from British workers because they are filling job vacancies that would not be taken up by British people. While the research focused just on one town (Bolton), the researchers believe that the trends they found are replicated nationwide.
University of Salford

15th April 2009
UK. Social Trends.

The Office of National Statistics has now released the 2009 edition of the journal Social Trends. Here is a summary from the webpage where one may download a press release and the full report.

“Households, families and children are the underlying theme of this year's Social Trends. Many aspects of society vary according to make up of the household and family type, including economic activity, spending patterns, and attitudes towards the environment. Attitudes to marriage, divorce and childbearing have changed over time and contributed to an increasing proportion of cohabiting couples, lone parent families and people living alone. Despite these changes, the traditional family structure of a married mother and father with a child or children, remains the most common family type.

“As the population grows, the proportion of people aged under 16 has dropped below those over state pension age. Life expectancy at birth in the UK has risen, younger people spend more time in formal education and the labour force has grown as the population has increased. However, in 2006/07 local authorities spent more than double the amount on personal social services, such as home help and foster care, than they did a decade ago.

“Crime, although perceived to be increasing, has actually fallen. There has been a rise in home ownership and although housing accounts for a significant proportion of household expenditure, there were large increases in spending on communication and by UK tourists travelling abroad.

“The environment and particularly climate change was still a concern for many people, although access to a car remained on the increase. There have been notable increases over the last decade in ownership of items such as mobile phones and home computers. Despite these increases, traditional leisure activities, such as watching TV and spending time with family and friends, remain popular”.

Access this latest edition of the journal Socal Trends here:
Office of National Statistics

Material reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence. Source: National Statistics website:
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI).

March 2009
UK. Report on East European migration and the economic downturn.

A report from the Department for Communities and Local Government gives an assessment of East European migration to and from the UK, describes how the government is trying to control immigration and continues “... to build cohesive communities that are resilient and can manage change”, and makes recommendations for the future management of this migration.

The report assesses the present situation in a section headed 'Migration – the national picture'
“Since June 2008 we have seen significant changes in the patterns of migration to the UK. As Managing the impacts of migration: a cross–government approach set out, from 2004 to 2007, the UK saw a sharp rise in immigration from Eastern Europe, largely from countries that joined the EU in 2004. At the same time, the UK continued to have steady inflows of migrants from outside the EEA and high levels of emigration from the UK to Europe and the rest of the world. Evidence suggests that migration to the UK has slowed through 2008 and is likely to fall further during the economic downturn.

“Communities and Local Government (CLG) has commissioned the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) to examine the impact of the economic downturn on migration. We expect this research to be published in April but their preliminary findings suggest that net migration flows to the UK will fall as a result of the economic downturn. While the extent of the fall depends in part on how other economies perform in relation to the UK, the research suggests that net migration is likely to fall towards the 2006–based low variant projection made by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

“Of those coming to the UK, the analysis we have commissioned suggests that the number of migrants from the Accession 8 countries (A8) is the most likely to decline further owing to decreasing wage differentials and a less attractive exchange rate. Evidence from the Workers Registration Scheme (WRS) already shows a decrease in the number of A8 migrants coming to the UK; the number of applications peaked in quarter 4 of 2006 at 63,000 and fell to 27,000 in quarter 4 of 2008.

“It is hard to be conclusive about the extent to which migration will decline during the downturn and then whether it will pick up again as the economy recovers. Many factors influence migrants’ decisions to come to the UK. While we are already seeing some signs of a decline in inflows of migrants from Eastern Europe, it is unlikely that there will be a complete cessation of migration to the UK during the downturn. Migrants will continue to come for family reunion and humanitarian protection as well as to study, learn English and experience life in the UK.

“We must also remember that while inflows to the UK are likely to decrease during the downturn, this does not mean that migrants already living and working in the UK are likely to leave. The research we have commissioned suggests that stocks of migrants coming from the A8 countries living in the UK may increase over time but potentially at a slower rate than previously anticipated. This slowing is in part in response to the current slowdown in the UK, and to other EU countries relaxing their restrictions on the A8. Moreover, some A8 migrants only intended to stay a short time in the UK and have not made as many bonds in society as other migrant groups. However, many A8 migrants will choose to stay in the UK, particularly if they work in sectors that are relatively resilient to the downturn (such as agriculture and food processing), if they have dependants at school in the UK, or have established family ties. Migrants from the wider world are unlikely to leave the UK in large numbers during the downturn”.

The report may be accessed at Communities and Local Government

Material reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence.

26th March 2009
UK. New statistics on the increase in the immigrant population: “UK resident population by country of birth”. Office of National Statistics (ONS).

An article by Amy Ellis of the ONS Centre for Demography, has been published in the journal Population Trends.
The key findings were:

  • “The size of the non-UK born population has increased by
    1.1 million between 2004 and 2007.
  • The most common non-UK country of birth consistently between
    2004 and 2007 was India. This made up around 10 per cent of
    the non-UK born population each year.
  • The size of the A8 born population in the UK increased by
    423,000 between 2004 and 2007.
  • Poland was the third most common non-UK country of birth
    in 2007, up from 12th in 2004.
  • In 2007 one in three London residents were born outside the UK.”

Trends at Government Office Region (GOR) are also given in this paper.
“In 2007 London had the highest estimate of non-UK born residents (2.5 million) in comparison with the other regions of the UK. This meant that 1 in 3 London residents were born outside the UK. This compares with around 1 in 10 in the South East, and around 1 in 11 in the East of England.”

“... each GOR and country of the UK has seen an estimated increase of non-UK born residents of at least 14 per cent over the four year period. The percentage increase in London, the South East and the North East has remained small (under 20 per cent). London and the South East already had relatively high levels of non-UK born residents in 2004. The estimated number of non-UK born residents in London increased from 2,168,000 in 2004 to 2,474,000 in 2007; and the number in the South East increased from 667,000 to 786,000”.

“The largest percentage increases in the UK occurred in the East of England (34 per cent), North West (32 per cent), and the East Midlands (32 per cent).”

Access the ONS article at ONS

Material reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence.

21st March 2009
“Manning the barricades. Who's at risk as deepening economic distress foments social unrest”.

“Collapsing credit has plunged the world economy into the deepest recession in more than 70 years...... millions of lost jobs and destroyed savings, has entered the political realm, causing some governments to collapse and threatening others. The risk of political instability is leading to a wave of trade protectionism, which is rippling across the globe....The political risks from the economic crisis are increasingly dire. Hungary’s prime minister, warns that an economic collapse in eastern Europe could tear apart the European Union and create a new Iron Curtain. Further east, the slowdown in China’s economy and the lack of political freedom is creating fertile ground for social turmoil........Job losses are at the heart of the growing political crisis. The International Labour Organisation expects global unemployment to rise by around 30m this year compared with 2007, and by as much as 50m if the world economy turns desperately downward.....”

The Unit has created a new social unrest index that identifies where the risks are greatest. It “defines social and political unrest or upheaval as those events or developments that pose a serious extra-parliamentary or extra-institutional threat to governments or the existing political order. The events will almost invariably be accompanied by some violence as well as public disorder.....The overall index on a scale of 0 (no vulnerability) to 10 (highest vulnerability). There are two component indices: an index of underlying vulnerability and an economic distress index. The overall index is a simple average (on a 1-10 scale) of the two component indexes”.

Zimbabwe comes top of the list (score of 8.8), Norway comes bottom (1.2). The UK (4.6) comes below France (5.3) but above The Netherlands (4) and Germany (3.8).

The Report may be accessed from:
Economist Intelligence Unit
Here is a link to a telegraph article about the report:

19th and 20th March 2009
“Immigration in the United Kingdom: the recession and beyond”.

A new Migration Policy Institute (MPI) report concludes that the overall impact of the recession on the size of the UK’s immigrant population is likely to be small in the long term. Annual immigration flows are small and even a large reduction in these flows would only reduce the total immigrant population by a very small amount. Also the factors driving immigration will remain strong, so flows are likely to pick up again with economic recovery.

Immigrants, especially those outside the OECD are likely to be amongst the worst affected by the recession. At the same time, historic perspective suggests that as native workers feel increasingly insecure, there is a risk of a backlash against immigrants.

The report may be accessed at:

Some newspaper comments:
Evening Standard

16th March 2009
UK. The effects of the recession on migration and employment.

A report from the organisation Centre for Cities by Catherine Glossop & Faiza Shaheen, examines the differential labour market effects of A8 country migration on two contrasting city economies – Bristol and Hull (the A8 countries are the East European countries that joined the European Union in 2004). The research was conducted during October 2008 and January 2009 – a time when both labour markets underwent a significant contraction, as a result of the global downturn.

The report notes that there is a public perception that migrants are taking jobs that would otherwise be given to local residents. But the study concludes that immigration from the A8 countries is not a real barrier keeping the long term unemployed out of the labour market.

In Bristol, this is some evidence of “an increase in the number of local people applying for positions traditionally taken up by migrant groups. This indicates that the recently unemployed are starting to widen their labour market search”.

There has been no out–migration of immigrants from either Bristol or Hull as a result of the recession. In Hull, migrants, through recruitment agencies, are predominantly employed in factories and that has prevented direct competition with local people for jobs. In Bristol, there is greater evidence that migrants are settling down, that they have higher level skills, and that they are employed in a wider range of sectors than in Hull. These factors could indicate greater competition for jobs with local people for fewer jobs compared with the situation in Hull, as the recession gets worse.

The report may be accessed at:

Different newspapers emphasise different aspects of the report.

The Times article begins “Because of rising unemployment, British born workers are having to seek low–paid and low–status jobs that have become the preserve of immigrant workers, a report says today”.
The Times
The Telegraph article is headed: “Britons rejected for low-paid jobs in favour of 'reliable' eastern European immigrants. Britons are seeking more low-paid jobs but are being rejected by some employers because they are not as motivated or reliable as eastern European immigrants, a report has claimed”.
The Telegraph
The Guardian article is headed “Tales from two cities as migrants distort quest for work. Hull reveals separate 'Polish only' jobs market as newcomers compete with long-term residents for employment in Bristol”.
The Guardian

15th March 2009
UK. “FT poll reveals hostility to jobless migrants”.

A poll for the Financial Times showed that roughly three–quarters of adult British people think that immigrants who do not have a job should be asked to leave the country. In response, the immigration minister Phil Woolas admitted that the public don't think the government is in control of immigration.
Financial Times

12th March 2009
Household Projections to 2031, England. The latest national statistics on household projections to 2031 for England were released under the auspices of the UK Statistics Authority on 11 March 2009.

Key points from the summary release from Communities and Local Government, which refer to what is termed the 'Principal Projection' are:

  • The number of households in England is projected to grow to 27.8 million in 2031, an increase of 6.3 million (29 per cent) over the 2006 estimate, or 252,000 households per year.
  • Population growth is the main driver of household growth, accounting for nearly three–quarters of the increase in households between 2006 and 2031.
  • One person households are projected to increase by 163,000 per year, equating to two–thirds of the increase in households.
  • By 2031, 32 per cent of households will be headed by those aged 65 or over, up from 26 per cent in 2006.
  • By 2031, 18 per cent of the total population of England is projected to live alone, compared with 13 per cent in 2006.
  • The South East region has the largest absolute increase in households of 39,000 per year from 2006 to 2031, a 28 per cent rise from the 2006 level.
  • The North East region shows the smallest growth in households, at 8,300 per year from 2006 to 2031, or a 19 per cent rise from the 2006 level.

The Press Release may be accessed at:
Communities and Local Government Press Release

We now refer briefly to the full report.

As already mentioned, the above conclusions relate to what is termed the 'Principal Projection'. But the report also examines variant population projections that are based on different assumptions about fertility, life expectancy and migration, and looks at how these variant population projections affect household projections. It was found that changing assumptions about migration in these variant projections had a greater effect on the growth of the number of households than changing assumptions about fertility and life expectancy. The 'high migration' variant projection increases the number of households by 33,000 per year between 2006 and 2031, while the 'low migration' variant decreases the number of households by almost 31,000 per year between 2006 and 2031 relative to the principal projection.

The results of the various projections for the number of households in 2031 are as follows:

Household numbers 2031 (millions)
High variant 28.6
Principal projection 27.8
Low variant 27.1

We see then that there is a very large spread of numbers between the different projections. We also note that the report states:
“The household projections are produced by applying projected household representative rates to the population projections published by the Office for National Statistics. Projected household representative rates are based on trends observed in Census and Labour Force Survey data. The assumptions underlying national household and population projections are demographic trend based. They are not forecasts. They do not attempt to predict the impact that future government policies, changing economic circumstances or other factors might have on demographic behaviour. They provide the household levels and structures that would result if the assumptions based on previous demographic trends in the population and rates of household formation were to be realised in practice” (our italics).

Now the Telegraph Newspaper in its item on the report, comments about the conclusion that with the Principal Projection, population growth is the main driver of household growth, accounting for nearly three–quarters of the increase in households between 2006 and 2031. It says that this leaves immigration accounting for extra 99,000 households a year between now and 2031. And the headline of the Telegraph article is “Immigrants will add up to 'one household every six minutes for 25 years'”.

We would like to add one comment of our own, and that concerns the natural increase component of population growth and the changing ethnic composition of the UK population and households. Fertility rate is one causal factor of natural increase. Now fertility rate varies greatly between ethnic groups. Thus the fertility of the census category White: British – still by far the largest ethnic category in the UK – is way below replacement level, as it is also in some other groups, especially the Chinese. In contrast, the fertility rate of some ethnic groups is way above replacement level, this being most noticeably the case with the Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups (see section 6c of the UK section of our Population Trends page). It is therefore to be expected that there will be significant changes in household numbers in terms of ethnicity.

The full report may be accessed at:
Communities and Local Government. The report.

And the Telegraph article may be accessed at:

11th and 12th March 2009
World–wide water shortages and the causes.

The United Nations (UN) Fifth World Water Forum takes place 15th–20th March. And the UN issued a Press Release to launch a new World Water Development Report on the 12th of March. But France 24 International News issued a News Brief on the report entitled “Population growth, climate change sparking water crisis” the previous day (11th). The following brief account summarises this earlier press release which seems to us the more informative of the two releases, but we also then give a note on, and a link to, the UN Press Release.

The continued growth of the human population (globally 80 million more people per year) is driving an “explosive” demand for water, especially in poor country cities where water resources are anyway often “meagre”. Demand for water from rivers, lakes and aquifers is growing yearly at a rate equivalent to the annual water demand of Egypt today, and has trebled in the past 50 years through population growth and the water demands of water–intensive food crops such as rice, cotton, dairy and meat products. Water reserves built up in aquifers over hundreds of thousand of years are not being replenished.

The situation is being made worse by pollution, “unbridled” irrigation, and pipe leakage. Resultant environmental degradation and “excessive” extraction costs are putting a great financial burden on countries especially in the Middle East and North Africa, which are the most “water–stressed” world regions. The annual investment needed to build up and then maintain water supply systems and the connected sanitation and irrigation requirements is between 92.4 and 148 billion dollars. And now climate change, with shifting weather systems is, and will continue, to make things worse.

Increasing water shortages will “pose a mounting SECURITY CHALLENGE”, “driving regional rivalry” especially in already “unstable areas”. Further, the water crisis is part of a nexus that includes the crises of climate change, energy supplies, food supplies and “troubled financial markets”. All this means that the outlook is mixed for the achieving of the UN Millennium Development Goals. As regards the water crisis itself, water conservation and reuse of water are “watchwords” for the future.

The News Brief may be accessed at:
France 24.

The UN release covers the same ground as the News Brief just summarised, but also lays some stress on a point not mentioned in that brief. It notes that one of the report's authors, Richard Connor, said “the production of biofuels had also increased sharply in recent years, with significant impact on water demand. The report noted that, despite their potential to help reduce dependence on fossil energy, and given the technology currently available, biofuels were likely to place a disproportionate amount of pressure on biodiversity and the environment”.
The UN release may be accessed at:
United Nations Press Conference

Finally, we draw attention to our essay “Population growth and environmental deterioration. Are things finally coming together - for mankind's doom?” written quite a long time ago now (November 2007), which draws together the various factors causing the present global environmental crisis, and provides the context for the water crisis. This essay can be accessed either from our Home page (global section) or from the Analysis section of our Comment and Analysis page.

11th March 2009
“WORLD POPULATION TO EXCEED 9 BILLION BY 2050: Developing Countries to Add 2.3 Billion Inhabitants with 1.1 Billion Aged Over 60 and 1.2 Billion of Working Age”.

The United Nations is publishing the 2008 revision of its World Population Prospects. The Press Release dated 11th March gives the key findings listed under 26 points.

We just mention here a few cardinal features, and the peculiar significance of the revision figures for the United Kingdom. All what follows is based on what is termed by the UN the 'medium variant' population projection.

In July 2009 the world population will reach 6.8 billion, and, assuming that fertility rates continue to decline, the world population is expected to reach 9.1 billion in 2050. At that time it will be increasing by roughly 33 million persons each year.

It is the less developed countries where most future population growth will take place. And amongst these countries, the population of the 49 least developed countries is projected to double by 2050.

Population growth during 2010–2050 is concentrated in what are currently the most populous countries, and the top five in terms of the size of their future contribution to global population growth are (in descending order of contribution): India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and the USA (we comment here that the top four are thus in sub–Saharan Africa; further, China, by far the country with the largest present day population, only comes eighth on the list, no doubt because of its implementation of the one child policy).

While population growth is projected to continue in most countries between 2010 and 2050, the populations of 45 countries or areas are expected to decrease. Most of these countries are in Europe, but also included are Cuba, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

'Population ageing' is a world wide phenomenon. By this term the UN means the production of populations where the proportion of older persons increases and at the same time the proportion of younger persons decreases. While population ageing is currently most advanced in developed countries, the populations of a majority of developing countries “are poised to enter a period of rapid population ageing”. But in countries where fertility remains high, the populations will remain relatively young.

Most developed countries have had below replacement level fertility for two or three decades, however, in general, in more developed countries, fertility is expected to rise slightly before 2050. In contrast, the fertility in the least developed countries is projected to fall considerably.

Life expectancy is low in the least developed countries although it is projected to increase from 56 to 69 years by 2050. But this assumes successfully reducing HIV spread and combating other infectious diseases (HIV 'prevalence' reached a peak over the past decade and a growing number of countries are maintaining low prevalence levels. But prevalence remains high in some countries – Southern Africa is the region with the highest HIV prevalence). Most developing countries are unlikely to see a massive reduction of under–five mortality.

In 2005–2010 net migration in nine countries or areas is more than twice the contribution of natural increase (births minus deaths) to population growth. And in a further 11 countries, net migration largely counterbalances natural increase.

Finally, and of particular interest for the UK, in terms of average annual numbers, the major net receivers of international migrants, 2010–2050 are, in descending net immigration numbers, the USA, Canada, the UK, Spain, Italy, Germany, Australia and France. For the UK the projected average annual net immigration is 174,000.

The Press Release may be accessed at:
UN Population Division

The UK Telegraph newspaper reported on the revised UN population estimates. It wrote that if the UN is right, the UK will become the country with the largest population in the European Union (EU) in 2050, with a population even larger than that of Germany. The paper states the UK is already the most crowded country in the EU, the fourth most crowded country in the world. We comment that we think all this has very serious adverse consequences in terms of carrying capacity (see our essay “How Many people can the earth support? Part 2. Ecological footprints”, accessed from the Analysis section of our Comment and Analysis page), and probably too in terms of social cohesion.
The Telegraph article may be accessed at:

10th March 2009
Rising sea levels set to have major impacts around the world.

Research presented today at the International Scientific Congress on Climate Change in Copenhagen shows that the upper range of sea level rise by 2100 could be in the range of about one meter, or possibly more. In the lower end of the spectrum it looks increasingly unlikely that sea level rise will be much less than 50 cm by 2100. This means that if emissions of greenhouse gases is not reduced quickly and substantially, even the best case scenario will hit low lying coastal areas housing one in ten humans on the planet hard.

The impacts of sea level rise – even in the lower ranges of the current predictions – looks to be severe. Approximately ten percent of the worlds population – 600 million people – live in low lying areas in danger of being flooded. A previously released study shows that even a modest sea level rise of 50 centimeters will result in a major increase in the number of coastal flooding events.
Read the full Press Release: International Scientific Congress on Climate Change

Earlier research showed another worrying consequence of current climate change – oceans are becoming more acidic:
“Leading scientists at a United Nations Forum have sounded the alarm about the world's oceans being at risk of becoming too acidic. The scientists' Monaco Declaration on Ocean Acidification made January 30 said that levels of acidity are accelerating due to a build up of greenhouse gases released to the atmosphere.
The effect of increased acidity in the ocean water is a threat to coral reefs and marine life warned the scientists, who called on governments to take action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions”.
European Project on Ocean Acidification

9th of March 2009
“Despite recession three times as many foreign IT workers entering UK than during dot com boom”.

Using the Freedom of Information Act, the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSC0) found that whereas there had been 12,726 work permits issued to foreign IT workers at the peak of the dot com boom in 2000 when the UK had a massive shortage of IT skilled persons, 35,430 were issued in 2008. APSCo concluded that the influx of foreign IT workers has barely been influenced by the economic downturn and a 'tougher' new points based immigration system.

The chief executive of APSCo commented that it seemed to be crazy to still be bringing in three times the number of IT workers to the UK that came in during the dot com boom when thousands of IT workers have already lost their jobs.
Further details at APSCo

9th of March 2009
The number of illegal migrants in Britain.

The Telegraph has an article 9th March stating that a study by the London School of Economics (LSE) estimated the number of illegal migrants in Britain is 725,000; and the article's title states this number is 80 per cent more than official estimates.

We therefore tried to find the actual LSE report and for this purpose e-mailed the LSE. Back came the reply giving the link to the report. To our surpise, the report is dated 16th February 2009, quite a long time ago. Note too that the report considers UK, not Great Britain (the UK without Northern Ireland).

The report is an interim report commissioned by the Greater London Authority (GLA), which was considering the possibility of giving an amnesty to illegal immigrants (as reported in the BBC television Panorama programme 9th March).

The report, by I. Gordon, K. Scanlon, T. Travers and C. Whitehead, uses the euphemistic name 'irregular population' for the illegal population. It refers to a 2005 estimate of this population in a study by Woodbridge (2005), for and published by, the UK Home Office and the Office of National Statistics – hence an official estimate: 430,000 on Census day 2001. In addition there were 175,000 persons (“quasi–legal immigrants”) “whose right to remain at that point depended on future determination of their asylum status”. The LSE report notes that the method used in this Home Office study to make the estimate of the size of the irregular population meant that the estimate did not include UK–born children of irregular migrants.

Now the size of the irregular population would have increased by 2007. And the LSE report provides three estimates of the irregular population at the end of 2007 (in thousands), estimates that do include UK-born children :
A central estimate – 725; a lower estimate – 524; a higher estimate – 947. This compares with the Home office 2001 estimate (referred to above) of:
A central estimate – 430; a lower estimate – 310; a higher estimate – 570.

The Summary of the LSE report may be downloaded at LSE. And chaper two of the report which contains further details may be downloaded at: LSE.

This chapter makes the very important statement “As a result of the weak statistical base for assessing irregular migrants, compounded by the changes of status that many migrants face from time to time, it is impossible to produce a wholly robust and agreed total for irregular migrants in the UK or London. The best that can be done is to reveal all the existing official sources that tell part of the story and then apply consistent logic to efforts to infer numbers that do not exist. In particular, it is vital that methods are explained so that others can understand them and provide a critique. There is no right or wrong answer, simply gradations of better or worse”.

4th and 5th March 2009
UK Government versus independent statisticians.

In recent times there have been two Press Releases from the Office of National Statistics that have alarmed the government and caused it to publicly protest about their publication. The first, dated the 11th of February, was entitled “UK born and non-UK born employment”. This gave employment figures for UK nationals and non–UK nationals, as well as UK born and non–UK born persons. With regard to the latter, the Press Release stated that in the 12 months to October–December 2008 employment of UK born workers fell, while employment of non–UK workers rose. We reported on this News release in our News item of 11th and 12th February; and we discussed issues involved in the Comment section of our Comment and Analysis page. The second, dated the 24th of February was entitled “Latest migration statistics released”. This gave information about the number of persons born overseas that were resident in the UK in the year to June 2008. It also gave information on the number of applications for a National Insurance Number and the number of applications for the Workers Registration Scheme. And we reported on this News Release in our News item dated 24th and 25th February.

In the discussion of these Press Releases by the media, the view has been expressed that the government has been interfering with the publishing of information by independent statisticians; more particularly trying to influence the publication of statistics by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) so as to ensure Press Releases favour government interpretations of events.

Now, this controversy over alleged government interference has surfaced again in the media.
The controversy must be seen against the background that the government established the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) in 2008 with the intention of ensuring that statistics were produced and published in an impartial manner rather than being influenced by government pressures. For information about the UKSA see UKSA.
It is ironic then that on more than one occasion the chairman of the UKSA, Sir Michael Scholar, has criticised the government for doing just that – trying to influence the ONS in its reporting.

We give below links to new news items, and for present purposes number these 1 to 4.
In these news items we read that government ministers were furious over the release of the employment figures (first Press Release) (items 2 and 3). The immigration minister Phil Woolas suspected that the release of the employment figures (first press release) ahead of the normal release schedule was because the ONS was trying “to influence the political debate” (item 4 – see also item 1); he accused the ONS of being “at best naive, or, at worst, sinister” (items 1, 2, 3 – see also item 4) and, trying to grab the headlines to show it was a “newly liberated and independent body” (items 1 and 4). He apparently wished to distance the government from the publication of these figures, tried to interfere with the publishing of the figures on the number of persons born abroad (items 1, 2 and 3; see also item 1), arguing that the general public would think the government had released the figures (item 1 and 3) whereas the ONS had published them without any government involvement, “so, Government gets the blame by some for whipping up anti–foreign sentiment when it is the independent ONS who are playing politics” (item 1, 2).

A Liberal party spokesman pointed out that ministers cannot make such attacks simply because they don't like the figures or the timing of their publication (item 1). And a senior Conservative MP called for the sacking of Mr. Woolas, as it is not right for ministers to undermine the independence of the ONS (item 4).

We think that maintaining the independence of the UK Statistics Authority is vital, and we do think the government has been trying to push that authority to depart from an independent approach and favour the government's take on events. So we think it is important that people should read the 12th of February letter of Sir Michael Scholar to the Times Newspaper in which he defended the ONS against the criticism about the 11th February News Release. We give below a link to a page from where this letter may be accessed.

In this letter Sir Michael said that the UKSA would assess the claim of 'misleading' by its own Code of Practice. He went on: “I reject, however, the suggestions of naivety and political motivation. The statistics about foreign workers were included, as they regularly are, within the data from the Labour Force Survey released in the usual way on Wednesday, the same day as the news release. The National Statistician exercised her professional judgement in deciding to bring forward by two weeks the ONS regular analysis of these country of birth and nationality figures, both because there has been misinterpretation of these figures in the recent past and because she judged that it was in the public interest to publish neutral and objective statistics on this subject as soon as possible.
Whether you call it naivety or openness, statisticians must be encouraged to publish independent and objective statistics, not pilloried for doing so. The Statistics Authority will not only defend them in this, it will continue to require it of them”.

Media reports:

1). 4th March. Minister 'appalled' by stats body:
BBC News
2). 4th March. Phil Woolas attacks ONS for 'sinister' immigration data release:
3). 4th March. What is 'sinister' is a minister seeking to suppress the truth:
Daily Mail
4). 5th March. Immigration minister urged to withdraw 'smear' against statistics chief or resign:
Daily Mail

The full letter from Sir Michael Scholar to The Times newspaper dated 12 February 2009 may be accessed at the following link:

A puzzle. The Mail article of the 5th (item 4) writes of a warning by Sir Michael Scholar that the ONS was being 'pilloried' for publishing objective information, and it appeared that that warning was made the previous day. So we examined the UKSA web site in the hope of finding some statement by Sir Michael dated the 4th of March on this subject. We were unable to find any such statement. The last item of correspondence from Sir Michael referred to on the UKSA web site was his letter of the 12th of February. Consequently we telephoned UKSA and eventually we were phoned back and told that the statement the Mail was referring to must be the letter of the 12th, as they could find no later correspondence on this subject by Sir Michael. So we remain puzzled.

26th February 2009
“The Economic Impacts of Migration on the UK Labour Market” (IPPR).

This report from the Institute for Public Policy Research concludes that migration has little effect on UK wages.

For example, they say that increasing the migrant share of the working age population by one percentage point, would only reduce wages by about 0.3 per cent. And the influx of workers from the A8 (east European) countries that joined the European Union in 2004 has had little effect on UK wages.
In contrast, leaving school at 17–19 years of age instead of a minimum 16 years would raise the wages of the UK-born population by about 10 per cent.
The financial Times reported on the IPPR report:
Financial Times

Note. We recently had a news item that contained a reference to an IPPR news release. This news item of ours, dated January 2009, may be found by scrolling down to immediately below our news item for 30th January on social unrest. We wrote in this news item dated January 2009:
“We recently wrote to the ippr (20th January), primarily as a matter of courtesy, asking them if they would mind if we reproduced their news release in full. The ippr replied the same day, not however answering our query, but rather requesting information about our organisation, which we duly sent the same day. A couple of days later we wrote again requesting a reply to our original request. So far we have not had a reply, but that may of course come in the next few days. If it does, and the ippr have no objection to us posting the News Release in full, we will alter this section of our News page appropriately”.

We never did receive a reply to our request. So although we would have liked to reproduce the conclusions section of this new IPPR report, it seemed to us a waste of time to make a request to do that.

24th and 25th February 2009
New migration statistics and the size of the non–UK born population in the UK.

New migration statistics were released by the UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) on 24th February, and the media has subsequently drawn attention to these statistics. Two of the issues under scrutiny are first, the influx of people from Eastern Europe to work, and second, the size of the non–UK born population in the UK. A basic source of information here is the 24th February ONS News Release “Latest migration statistics released”. (link below).

On the issue of the influx of people from Eastern Europe to work, the News Release gives data for people from the 'A8' countries (those east European countries that joined the EU in 2004, the most populous country being Poland). Initial Applications to the Workers Registration Scheme (WRS) fell in both 2007 and 2008:

Number of applicants
2006 235,000
2007 218,000
2008 165,000

Figures for National Insurance Number applications from foreign nationals also showed a fall, from between the 12 months to September 2007 and the 12 months to September 2008, both for the group of all foreign nationals, and for A8 nationals.

On the issue of the non–UK born population in the UK, the same Press Release states:
“The latest migration statistics, published today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), show that 6.5 million people born overseas were resident in the UK in the year to June 2008, an increase of 290,000 on the year to June 2007. The Annual Population Survey also provides population estimates by nationality, showing 4.1 million foreign nationals resident in the UK in the year to June 2008, compared with 3.8 million in the year to June 2007”.

On the issue of East European workers the Home Office gave further details and the BBC had an item “East European worker influx slows”. The Guardian Newspaper had an article “East Europeans seeking work in UK down 47%”. And as regards non-UK born persons, the Daily Mail Newspaper had an article entitled “One in nine people living in Britain now born overseas as 300,000 more foreigners settle in the UK”.

The ONS Press Release: ONS
The Home Office article: Home Office
The Guardian article:
The BBC article: BBC News
The Daily Mail article: MailOnline

Crown Copyright material reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.

24th February 2009
“Polygamy UK: This special Mail investigation reveals how thousands of men are milking the benefits system to support several wives”.

It is suggested that an official estimate of the extent of polygamy in the UK is an underestimate. It is claimed that polygamists have been able to get financial support for more than one wife and even bigger council houses to support large family size. And it is asserted that “officialdom” is ignoring bigamy/polygamy; all this against the background that bigamy/polygamy is illegal and has been for a very long time.

This article also refers to a recent intervention into the debate by Baroness Warsi, who argued that politicians have not tackled this problem because of “cultural sensitivity”. The second link below is to a BBC article that covers what Baroness Warsi and others said about this issue.

Mail on Line
BBC News

11th and 12th February 2009
UK born and non–UK born employment. An 11th of February News Release from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Here is the main text from the News release:

“Employment of all workers, both UK and non–UK born, fell by 59,000 in the 12 months to October–December 2008, a 0.2 per cent reduction on the October–December 2007 estimate.

In the 12 months to October–December 2008, employment of UK born workers fell by 278,000 to 25.6 million. In the same period, employment of non–UK born workers rose by 214,000 to 3.8 million.

Analysis by nationality shows a fall in employment of UK nationals by 234,000 to 27.0 million; employment of non–UK nationals rose by 175,000 to 2.4 million”.

Crown Copyright material reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.

The full News Release, which also contains illustrative graphs, explanatory background notes and tabulated raw data, may be accessed by clicking on this link:
Office for National Statistics

This News Release provoked interest in the media, and here are a few links to items. We will also discuss the issues raised by the media in the Comments section of our Comment and Analysis page.

“Increase in foreign born workers”. BBC.
“Statistics chief Karen Dunnell inflames row over foreign workers”. The Times. This article mentions objections by various persons to the publication of this Release on various grounds: the ONS is trying to embarrass the Prime Minister with a political act; the statistics were open to misrepresentation and risk inflaming tensions; the release was misleading or could be misconstrued. But in this particular article no mention was made of any persons/organisations support to justify the release of this information. However – see the next item, also in The Times:
“Statisticians are right to publish and be damned”. The Times.
This article by Sir Andrew Green of Migration Watch argues why it was right to publish this release.
“The bare facts are not enough to stop misuse. The Times.
This article, by Keith Vas, Labour MP and chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee gives reasons why he thinks this Release should not have been published.
Readers might also like to read an article by Migration Watch UK
“Impact of immigration on employment of British born”. Migration Watch UK. This 'Briefing paper' was published 15th December 2008. It argues that virtually all the jobs created in the last seven years went to immigrants.
“Hundreds march at new power stations over foreign labour”. The Guardian. This concerns renewed protests over foreign labour contracts, but also refers to the ONS News Release without mentioning it by name.

30th January 2009
Social unrest in Europe as the recession deepens.

Strikes in France and the UK now at the end of January, are signs of severe discontent over the effects of the global recession. The more general protest, in France, is caused by the perception that the French government, in responding to the recession, is supporting the banks, but not doing enough to protect workers from the effects of the recession.

In the UK, protests are more closely focused on the view that foreign workers are being given jobs that British people could do, when British workers are available to do the jobs; they take place against the background of the Prime Minister's assurances that he wants to ensure jobs for British workers.

The French strike started on the 29th when more than a million public and private sector workers (unions said more than two million) came out on strike. The cause was the conviction that the Government had done too much to "bail out fat cats and banks", not enough to protect workers jobs and help workers in other ways to cope with the effects of the recession.
“A million on strike as France feels the pinch”. guardian

Unofficial strikes in the UK started on the 28th at an oil refinery in Lincolnshire, where 300 staff walked out, angry that workers from outside the UK had been taken on to do jobs when local people were out of work and a variety of the jobs, such as welding, could be done by UK workers.
“Mass walkout over foreign labour”. BBC News
This particular protest continued on the 29th and 30th, and the protest spread to other parts of the UK – several sites in Scotland, and sites on Teesside, Merseyside and at Aberthaw in South Wales.
“Protest over foreign labour fear”. BBC News
“Refinery strikes spread across UK”. BBC News

The BBC's correspondent Martin Shankleman concluded that “the dispute reflects union alarm” that work on some key projects “has been subcontracted to foreign workers”, UK workers “being denied the right to carry out the work”.
“Q & A: What is the dispute about?”. BBC News

The European Union information web site EurActiv sees the French strike as symptomatic of a likely spread of social unrest across Europe, even to the possible extent of a collapse of the 'European social model'.
“Social unrest grips Europe as global recession bites”.

We have requested permission to reproduce the whole EurActiv article; if this is granted we will put the article here.

We are grateful that permission has now been granted and here is the article:

Social unrest grips Europe as global recession bites.

Published: Thursday 29 January 2009    

As the global recession continues to ravage industry and employment throughout Europe, the likelihood of social unrest across the continent is increasing, with France today (29 January) experiencing its first mass strike for months.



This week witnessed the worst single day of job cuts across the EU since the economic downturn began last year (EurActiv 27/01/09). The consensus among economic experts is that massive job losses will continue to hit European workers in 2009.

According to the International Labour Organisation, the global economic crisis will push 18–30 million people out of the job market, while if the situation deteriorates further, up to 50 million workers will lose their jobs in 2009.

Outbreaks of social unrest have occurred in both Western Europe (Iceland) and Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Greece, Latvia and Lithuania) in recent weeks, while in France today, a massive general strike will herald the first major incident in a 'big' EU country.

More on this topic:

ListNews:   Europe hit by storm of mass layoffs

Other related news:


The first major test faced by a 'big' EU country in 2009 comes as France is brought to a standstill by a general strike against President Nicolas Sarkozy's proposed economic reforms.

Eight of the country's leading trade unions will participate, spurred on by high levels of support among French voters: almost 70% are sympathetic towards the protests, according to a CSA poll.

Ronald Janssen, an economist at the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), told EurActiv that social unrest across Europe will “intensify” and is likely to mushroom into an “explosion” as the economic crisis escalates, because “not only will job losses continue, increasing unemployment, but a lot of social advantages will be attacked by employers saying 'if you want to keep your job, you will have to accept a cut in wages or benefits'”.

As Iceland goes, so goes Europe ?  

Icelandic Prime Minister Geir Haarde this week became the first European leader to lose his job as a direct result of the economic crisis. The collapse of Haarde's government was precipitated by weeks of angry protests in Reykjavik, including the burning of effigies of the prime minister outside parliament. Before being ousted, Haarde had expressed fears that the economic crisis would lead to a political one. 

In fact, Iceland may well be the weathervane that points the way towards a troubled 2009. Marko Papic, a geopolitical analyst at Stratfor, argued that “in terms of perception, Iceland is like a canary in the mineshaft. It tells us how bad things can get in the rest of Europe ”. 

Indeed, following last year's tumultuous riots in Greece ( EurActiv 11/12/08 ), early 2009 has continued in the same vein, with anti–government riots having taken place in Bulgaria, Latvia and Lithuania so far as social unrest grows. Dominique Strauss–Kahn, president of the International Monetary Fund, warned in late 2008 that “social unrest may happen in many countries, including advanced economies,” as a result of the crisis.

Moreover, Papic points out that “there are a number of elections coming up in Europe [in 2009]: in Slovakia , Lithuania , Bulgaria , the Ukraine , and of course – Germany . These countries will have to run their campaigns amidst economic collapse, therefore whatever social unrest there is will be highlighted and increased”.

Social Europe : Coming apart at the seams?  

The worst–case scenario, argues ETUC's Janssen, could see an “explosion of public unrest” and a de facto collapse of the European social model as we know it. 

“There's a big scandal of which awareness is brewing: governments are now trying to save banks through injecting capital and save companies by giving credit guarantees, and this will translate into higher public deficits,” he said. 

This in turn, he argued, will lead to pressure from the European Commission, the OECD and economists generally. “This is not sustainable for public finances, so you have to cut social security, which will lead to an attack on social Europe,” the ETUC economist said.  

People will come to realise, claims Janssen, that in fact they are paying the bill for the excesses of banks and corporate CEO bonus systems. 

As a result, the combined effects of mass unemployment, collapsing social security systems and heightening social unrest could herald a “major collapse”: “It might be the case, I fear, that the European social model is unravelling,” the economist concluded.

Copyright © PLC

January 2009
The impact of immigration on the UK during the economic downturn, now officially a recession
(for a variety of reasons it was, unfortunately, not possible to post this item to the internet until 25th January 2009).

During January 2009 there was much discussion in the media and official circles of the effect of continued immigration on the UK economy. We give here information from four sources that illustrate the contrasting opinions on this issue:

  1. From the Local Government Association (focus on the needs of the farming industry)
  2. From the UK Parliament's Work and Pensions Select Committee (some evidence given during an enquiry, on the supply of labour)
  3. A press release from the Institute of Public Policy Research (concerns a proposed government bill on immigration and citizenship)
  4. An article by the Optimum Population Trust around the concept of the possibility of overpopulation.


One. 19th January 2009
Farmers hit hard if migrants head home, warn councils
LGA press release - 19 January 2009

Agriculture and care homes will be two of the industries hardest hit by a double whammy of an exodus amongst migrant workers during the recession and new restrictions on non–EU recruits, council leaders will say in a new report published tomorrow.

Farmers are warning they will lose money and food will be left to rot if migrants begin to return home. Care homes say that a combination of new restrictions on non–EU workers and the possibility of migrant workers leaving the country could make it impossible to recruit staff without increasing care costs.

The new research by the Local Government Association analyses the impact the recession could have on migrant labour in a variety of different industries. Council leaders are today putting forward a three point plan to ensure that the businesses most likely to be affected can cope:

  • Councils will lead the response to an outflow of migrant workers by bringing together local businesses, the Learning and Skills Council and Job Centre Plus to identify what skills local employers need workers to have and make sure people get the training they need to fill any vacancies.
  • In the short term, the Home Office must review the shortage occupation list so care homes can recruit the skilled staff they need, at a cost they can afford.
  • The LGA is advising councils to monitor their local population carefully for signs that migrant workers are returning home and has produced a guide to help councils do this.

Cllr Margaret Eaton, Chairman of the LGA, a cross party organisation which represents councils in England, said:

“If migrant workers begin to return home in large numbers, it could put real strain on some of the key services and industries we all take for granted. This report is a stark reminder that councils and businesses across the country need to be alert to any changes in their local workforce.

“Farmers are already saying they’ve lost money because they can’t fill jobs. If seasonal migrant workers can’t be recruited, this will only get worse and losses could be passed on to consumers. Unharvested food will go to waste and food will need to be shipped in from abroad, both of which will damage the environment.

“In the case of the care system, migrant workers are the backbone of the workforce. If care homes can’t employ the staff they need at a cost they can afford, it will have a direct impact on the elderly and frail. Those who are already struggling to make ends meet will be deeply concerned by the prospect of a rise in the cost of their care.

“Councillors are elected to put local people first and will be leading the way, working with the Learning and Skills Council and Job Centre Plus, to make sure that local people have the skills that businesses need. The Home Office needs to review the shortage occupation list so that care homes up and down the country can keep providing the level of care elderly people deserve, at a cost they can afford.

“The LGA is helping councils by publishing a guide on how they can calculate their local population more accurately and spot any changes quickly. This means councils can respond before it’s too late and get people the training they need to fill local vacancies”.
© Copyright Local Government Association.
Local Government Association.
See also 21st January Farmers Guardian.

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Two. 14th January 2009
Expert considers we should not relax the ban on workers from Bulgaria and Roumania so that we can avoid “an excessive external increase in the supply of labour”.
Evidence from Mr. John Philpott, chief economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)

Here is an extract from evidence taken in public by the Work and Pensions Select Committee of the House of Commons, UK Parliament.


Wednesday 14 January 2009



Evidence heard in Public Questions 1–90


1. This is an uncorrected transcript of evidence taken in public and reported to the House. The transcript has been placed on the internet on the authority of the Committee, and copies have been made available by the Vote Office for the use of Members and others.

2. Any public use of, or reference to, the contents should make clear that neither witnesses nor Members have had the opportunity to correct the record. The transcript is not yet an approved formal record of these proceedings.

Q21 John Howell: You touched on this a bit earlier, but what is your experience and your estimate of the effect of the downturn on migrant workers and on immigration.

Mr Philpott: We have certainly seen the flows of migrant workers drop, especially those from Eastern Europe. I think the latest figures are probably showing the lowest inflows since early 2005. Unfortunately, we do not have data on the outflows. The migrant worker bodies and the Polish associations and such like, their story is that a lot of the younger people are leaving, going back home, whereas if they have been here for a while and established families, they are more likely to stay and look around for jobs and kind of think of themselves more as members of the British labour market rather than itinerant members of an EU labour market.

Q22 John Howell: So are you for or against continuing the ban on workers from Bulgaria and Romania?

Mr Philpott: I would continue it for the ---. I am not speaking on behalf of CIPD here. I would maintain it at this particular point in time, because it would be conducive to our labour market recovery not to have a kind of excessive external increase in the supply of labour. It would be good for us to generate more people who are currently economically inactive, to get them back into the workforce and help them in the ways that the other unemployed are being helped, but when you have got a slack labour market, you should not need as many migrant workers and there would be no reason really to relax those conditions. Indeed, it may well be the case that, in the context of the slow down, adjustments to the new points system that will be affecting workers from outside the EU will also perhaps need to be tightened up to reflect our current labour market needs. The point is that with all these things it is about flexibility. Rather than having permanent constraints or latitudes on migration, you should have a policy that makes migration work for you, that makes it easier for people to come in when you need them and possibly restricts entry when you do not.

Corrected evidence will be published shortly. Parliamentary material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO on behalf of Parliament.

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Three. 14th January 2009
Borders and Migration Bill threatens the UK's economic recovery say ippr.

In advance of the publishing of the government's Borders, Immigration and Citizenship Bill, the ippr published a News Release.

The ippr said that “proposals to make it more difficult for migrants to gain British citizenship could have damaging consequences for the UK's economic recovery”

The ippr went on to warn that if the bill went forward in it's proposed form it would damage the UK's ability to compete with other countries in attracting migrants.

At the end of the News Release the ippr put a list of what it termed 'key facts'. These suggested that immigration is likely to decline under present circumstances anyway (implying we do not need further restrictions), and drew attention to existing or future needs for skilled workers in the construction industry and schools.

The ippr is the Institute for Public Policy Research, which describes itself as “the UK's leading progressive think tank”.
ippr. about us
Leaving aside the claim to be the leading progressive think tank, we note that the Press Association (U.K.) in its News Release of 14th January described the ippr as “left-leaning”.
Press Association

We recently wrote to the ippr (20th January), primarily as a matter of courtesy, asking them if they would mind if we reproduced their news release in full. The ippr replied the same day, not however answering our query, but rather requesting information about our organisation, which we duly sent the same day. A couple of days later we wrote again requesting a reply to our original request. So far we have not had a reply, but that may of course come in the next few days. If it does, and the ippr have no objection to us posting the News Release in full, we will alter this section of our News page appropriately.

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Four. 5th January 2009
Immigration is the main causal factor of projected future UK population growth, and it is suggested that overpopulation puts the UK's security at risk.
A press release by the Optimum Population Trust (OPT): “ Think–tank urges population inquiry by government”.

The OPT sent a letter to the immigration minister, Phil Woolas, claiming that “overpopulation puts Britain's security at risk”.

The letter focuses on the projected growth of the UK population during the next few decades, with immigration being the main causal factor.

In writing about the letter, OPT's Acting Chairman wrote “rapid population growth, and in particular immigration on the scale we have witnessed in recent years, raises questions about environmental sustainablity....”.

The letter welcomes the fact that Woolas had spoken of the need for a population policy. It states the OPT position that such a policy must be based on the number of people a country can support in the future; the policy would aim to maintain both the quality of life of the people and the state of the environment adequate for sustaining that quality level.

The letter supports the idea of taking steps to produce an appropriate population policy and makes suggestions as to how the investigations that would be required to formulate the policy could be undertaken.

Incidentally, the letter states that the OPT “finds itself the only reputable NGO now campaigning on population/environmernt issues in the UK ”.
Now the OPT is very aware of the work of our organisation Gaia Watch. In recent years we have repeatedly drawn the attention of OPT to our web site; at the same time we have pointed out to OPT, with detailed evidence, how it has over the years, denied the importance of certain factors in the causation of the increase of the UK population, factors that in fact are very relevant to this increase. We regard this comment by OPT as at best an unnecessary slight on our organisation.

Read the News Release at:
Optimum Population Trust

4th January 2009
A report from Migration Watch UK: “Population out of control: Why present policies cannot keep our population even to 70 million. January, 4 2009”.

The government have assured the public that the population of the UK will not be allowed to reach 70 million and that their new Points Based System (PBS) will ensure that this is achieved. Unfortunately, this cannot possibly be so...

...Last year the PBS would have only stopped 11,500 migrants out of 237,000 arriving in the UK. It is quite clear that the PBS in its present form will not, of itself, be remotely enough to keep the population of the UK below 70 million. This is not surprising since it does not place overall limits on immigration, and was never intended to do so. It remains to be seen whether the Government will take serious measures, including a much tougher version of the points based system, to limit the impact of immigration on our population. There is no evidence of this so far.

Read the full text of this Briefing Paper 9.21 on population projections which was prepared at the request of the Cross Party Group on Balanced Migration”.

Intellectual copyright remains the property of MigrationWatch UK © 2001 MigrationWatch UK. All rights reserved.

16th December 2008
UK. Levels of net immigration consistent with preventing the population growing to more than 70 million.

Background. In October, Immigration Minister Phil Woolas told The Times that the UK government was not going to allow the UK population to increase as far as 70 million (currently it is about 61 million) The Times. This commitment was viewed with scepticsm in some quarters where the view is held that the government is not in control of immigration, and in view of the recent high levels of annual net immigration.

The following question and answer is taken from the UK Parliament's Hansard Written Answers for 16th of December 2008.


Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster with reference to the Answer of 18 November 2008, Official Report, column 408W, on immigration, what the level is of net immigration at which the population of the UK would remain below 70 million on unchanged assumptions about birth rates, mortality and emigration levels and on the basis of the most recent population projections. [243465]

Kevin Brennan: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated December 2008:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your question, pursuant to the answer of 18th November 2008 (Official Report, column 408W) on immigration, regarding what the level of net immigration is at which the population of the UK would remain below 70 million on unchanged assumptions about birth rates, mortality and emigration levels on the basis of the most recent population projections. (243465)

Migration assumptions for national population projections are conventionally expressed in terms of net migration (immigration less emigration) rather than for the gross flows separately. However, nominal immigration and emigration totals are used in the projection process mainly to enable plausible age distributions to be calculated for the assumed net migration totals.

The 2006–based principal (or central) projection assumed a long–term annual net inflow to the UK of +190,000 persons a year. In this projection, the population of the UK is projected to reach 70 million in 2028. To answer your question, further population projections have been produced by reducing the nominal immigration totals applied in the 2006–based principal projection, but leaving the fertility, mortality and emigration assumptions unchanged. Based on these assumptions, with a long–term net migration inflow of +60,000 a year, the population would reach 70 million in the 2070s. However, with a net migration inflow of +50,000 a year the population would be just below 70 million in 2081, although it would still be continuing to rise.

In practice, this may not be a realistic scenario. If immigration fell permanently to levels well below those experienced in recent years, it is likely that this would, in time, lead to a reduction in the level of emigration as well, it is possible to have a range of combinations of levels of immigration and emigration consistent with any particular level of net migration and these would lead to different projected population sizes.

House of Commons. Hansard (see column 643W)

Parliamentary material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO on behalf of Parliament.

12th December 2008
The European Commission reaches a deal on climate change policy, but environmental groups say the deal does not go far enough.

The European Commission talks at Poznan in Poland have now led to an agreement on tackling climate change. The statement on this agreement by the president of the European Commission is given below. But some environmental organisations consider that the agreement reached is far from being adequate to prevent future catastrophic climate change, and we give links to press releases by WWF, FOE and Greenpeace as well as BBC and Aljazeera articles produced after the agreement was reached.

Brussels, Friday 12 December 2008
Statement by José Manuel BARROSO President of the European Commission on climate change deal at the European Council.

Today's political agreement on climate change and energy is of momentous importance. The leaders of Europe's 27 Member States have agreed to work together to transform Europe into a low–carbon economy. To make a real difference to energy security in Europe. And to make Europe the pioneer in developing tomorrow's technologies.

This is the fruit of two years of hard work by the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council. It has shown the European Union at its best: able to take courageous, long term decisions; to debate problems and find compromises; and to end up with an agreement with teeth – not just a political commitment, but a legally binding text with a guarantee to deliver.

Over the next few days, the EU institutions will finalize this deal. A positive vote in the European Parliament next week would set the seal on a remarkable story. As President of the Commission, I am proud that the proposals we made less than a year ago are securing such a strong endorsement.

At the heart of this success has been the EU's determination to stay focused on the overriding goal: the 20–20–20 targets for 2020. A 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a 20% share for renewable energy, and a 20% boost to energy efficiency. The commitment to reach these targets remains 100% intact. From 2013, the amount of emissions allowed by industry will be cut, year by year. Industry which fails to respond will have to pay more. Europe has already shown that the market can be used to create the incentive for change – now the year by year cuts will use this system to drive emissions down. All in a way carefully designed to spread the costs across the EU in the fairest way possible, and to drive jobs and investment towards tomorrow's technologies.

This agreement is the most powerful demonstration possible that Europe is prepared to show the way in the global effort to tackle climate change. Europe is the first key player to make a commitment to a 20% reduction by 2020; and the first to accept legally binding rules to make this happen.
We are looking forward to working with the new US Administration to seize the moment, and to build a transatlantic and indeed global carbon market to act as the motor of a concerted international push to combat climate change. We are sending the signal to developing countries that our system is specifically designed to mobilize extra resources to help them make their own contribution. And Europe now has a clear offer on the table that, with an agreement at the UN negotiations in Copenhagen next year, we will go even further and commit to a 30% cut.

There remains a lot of work to be done before we can say that the world is giving climate change the attention it needs. But this is the most concrete and the most substantial step taken against climate change since the Kyoto Agreement.

European Commission

However, some environmental groups conclude that the agreement reached falls far short of what Europe needs to do to combat climate change:
See also

1st December 2008
“Building a low-carbon economy”. The first report of the UK government's Committee on Climate Change.

Lord Turner, chairman of the committee said: “Climate change poses a grave threat to human welfare, the environment and the economy. We need to act now, in the UK and as part of a global agreement, to significantly reduce our emissions. It is not too late to tackle climate change, but it will be unless the world takes action soon, and the developed countries need to lead the way with strong commitments and strong delivery against the budgets. The budgets we have proposed are achievable given available and developing technologies, and provided the policies in place are implemented and where necessary reinforced. The reductions required can be achieved at a very low cost to our economy: the cost of not achieving the reductions, at national and global level, will be far greater”.

The report urges the government to commit unilaterally to reducing emissions of all greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the UK by at least 34% in 2020 relative to 1990 levels (21% relative to 2005). This should be increased to 42% relative to 1990 (31% relative to 2005) once a global deal to reduce emissions is achieved. The report sets out how the budgets it proposes can be met.
Committee on Climate Change press release

1st December 2008
“Changing UK: The way we live now”. A new report.

Since the late 1960's, British society has become increasingly segregated demographically, economically and socially, according to a new report commissioned from the Social and Spacial Inequalities Research Group at the University of Sheffield by the BBC. The report considers the UK in terms of BBC TV areas, Radio stations and large cities.

“Britain has been divided by economic prosperity in a way that has changed who goes where – through migration”. The divide is between the north and the south, the dividing line running diagonally from the Severn Estuary to the Humber estuary.

Considering the period 1981–2006 for BBC TV areas, and the percentage increase or decrease of population, regions north of the divide experienced change of minus 1.2 to minus 0.1 (more northerly of the regions) or 0.0 to 5.9 (more southerly regions). South of the divide, change varied from 6.0 to 23.0.

A clear north–south divide has developed in Britain between the north and the south in terms of wealth. “...people living below a relative poverty line, and as such excluded from participating in the norms of society” are concentrated in northern areas, while 'asset wealthy' people tend to be found more in southern areas.

During the last forty years the 'social mix' in most areas of Britain in tems of age, lifestyle, work and social class has declined; so that today people tend to be living in areas with people of similar age distribution, economic and lifestyle status. Analyses suggest that stronger feelings of isolation and weakened feelings of belonging have developed, with an increasing segregation into groups of people living among their “own kind”.

There has been an increase in “political disengagement'” in terms of a decreased proportion of the electorate voting in general elections. This too has shown regional variation, with the highest proportion not voting in recent elections being found in the BBC North West TV area.

The report concludes that “economic polarisation is a key driver of social polarisation and political disaffection. Young adults, who have increasingly moved to more affluent cities for work, especially to London, are moving further away from both younger and older generations. As they do so, however, they are also moving into increasingly socially fragmented cities. Areas they feel they belong to less and less”.

Social and Spatial Inequalities Research Group

19th November 2008
UK. Migration Statistics released today.

Net immigration to the UK (total immigration minus total emigration) rose from 191,000 in 2006 to 237,000 in 2007. In fact both immigration and emigration decreased. The reason why net immigration increased was that the decline in immigration was much less than the decline in emigration:

Year 2006 2007
immigration 591,000 577,000
emigration 400,000 340,000
net migration 191,000 237,000

Migration from the A8 European countries (the A8 countries are the east European countries that joined the EU in May 2004):

Year 2006 2007
immigration 92,000 112,000
emigration 22,000 25,000
net migration 71,000 87,000

The great bulk of migrants from the A8 countries in 2007 came from Poland (96,000).

There was big differences in UK migration trends between Old and New Commonwealth countries in 2007.
With the Old Commonwealth, immigration was 45,000, emigration was 31,000, a net immigration of 13,000 (there is a rounding up error here). In contrast, with the New Commonwealth, immigration was 130,000, emigration was 26,000, net immigration 103,000 (rounding up error again). So both total immigration and net migration were much greater for the new Commonwealth than for the Old Commonwealth. These differences follow what has now become a long standing pattern.

ONS and for statistical detail go to the first item in Annex A and click on the web address there, then click on 'First release 2007' then click on '2.01a Citizenship 91–07 final'.
(Data here reproduced under the terms of the Click-use Licence).

14th November 2008
UK. House of Lords debate on “The Economic Impact of Immigration” report of the Economic Affairs Committee.

The House of Lords report on the Economic Impact of Immigration was published on the first of April 2008 (see our News item of that date). Now, on the 14th of November, the report was debated in the House of Lords. The debate took place in the wake of the recent Press Release from the Cross Party Group on Balanced Migration (CPGBM) that claimed that last year thousands of jobs went to economic migrants from outside the European Union, jobs that had not been advertised in the UK first. The group called for the immigration system to be toughened up CPGBM .

In the House of Lords report, the committee noted that in carrying out its work, it was hampered by “the serious inadequacy of the existing data on immigration, emigration and the stock of immigrants in the UK”. “There is a clear and urgent need to improve the data and information about gross and net immigration flows to and from the UK, and about the size, geographical distribution and characteristics of the immigrant stock”.

The Committee found no evidence for the argument, made by the Government, business and others, that net immigration generates significant economic benefits for the existing UK population. It criticised the Government's use of GDP as an indicator of prosperity, arguing that the total size of the economy is not an indicator of prosperity; rather, attention should be focused on GDP per head of the population, and it concluded that the effects of immigration on GDP per head were small. The report noted that “many businesses and public services at present make use of the skills and hard work of immigrants. But this is not an argument for immigration on a scale which exceeds emigration and thus increases the population of the country”; rising population density could have harmful consequences on housing provision and welfare issues.

The committee also concluded that “the argument that sustained net immigration is needed to fill vacancies, and that immigrants do the jobs that locals cannot or will not do, is fundamentally flawed. It ignores the potential alternatives to immigration for responding to labour shortages....”. The committee also pointed out the need to improve the skills of the existing British population.

The report had a limited objective, in the sense that it dealt with economic aspects of immigration, “ not...the impacts of immigration on cultural diversity and social cohesion”, and both Lord Griffiths and Baroness Hanham reminded people about this during the debate.
But several speakers noted that this narrow focus meant that various important factors relevant to an assessment of the overall impact of immigration on society were not dealt with. Thus Lord Moser said:
“The trouble is that we all know that the non–economic issues are at least as important. One has only to think of all the social implications and impacts – social cohesion, diversity, cultural influences, and so forth – all, incidentally, with their own economic implications.... many of us would argue, myself included, that the non–economic benefits or losses are every bit as crucial in drawing up a balance sheet of pros and cons. To try to isolate the purely economic aspects, however dictated by the terms of reference of the committee, is bound to be unsatisfactory both for public consumption and for policy–making. The trouble is that this key limitation of the report – self–imposed and probably inevitable – coupled with its conclusions on the little economic impact, encouraged that rather slanted reception in the media. There was massive coverage, much of it with headlines such as, “Migration has brought zero benefit”, and “We must cap migration”.... Perhaps that is not exactly what the committee wanted to convey, but it was an inevitable interpretation in the public arena”.

Several speakers were keen to point to economic benefits of immigration.
Thus Lord Best noted the significance of new migrant labour in the two industries with which he had most contact:
“First, in housing, the construction industry makes substantial use of overseas workers who, in recent years, have come mostly from the A8 countries, particularly Poland. Secondly, the residential and domiciliary care sector has engaged large numbers of staff –care workers–from other countries. In relation to both groups, I have been hugely impressed by the energy, cheerfulness, honesty and reliability of the new migrants and, of course, by their willingness to work at wage levels that are unattractive to the established population, which keeps down the costs of providing services, not least the charges in care homes which can be a crippling burden for older residents. Some of this value for money is attributable to extraneous factors; for example, an exchange rate, which, until recently, made the pound go further in the migrants’ home countries, and the low cost of living for a single person working here for a year or so, not a lifetime, who is prepared temporarily to share one room with several compatriots. However, some of the benefit of employing migrants comes from their work ethic and the values that they bring. I have, for example, found that care workers in the housing schemes provided by the housing association that I chair, Hanover Housing Association, are not only diligent and prepared to go the extra mile, but caring too, perhaps because of religious beliefs which stress the respect due to older people”.

However, Lord Best did agree with the report's conclusion that there is a need to improve the skills of the existing British population:
“If there is a plentiful supply of well motivated workers from other countries, why struggle to educate, train and engage hard–to–employ indigenous young people? Employers are hardly likely to take on an illiterate, inarticulate young English man when there are plenty of bright, keen migrant workers willing to work for relatively low wages. Yet the human, social and economic cost to the UK of failing to rescue the growing numbers of NEETs—those not in employment, education or training – could be incalculable. It is said that one in five young people may now fall into this horrible category”. “However much benefit we derive from immigration, I can now recognise the hazards for the priority that this nation gives to the education, training and skills of our resident population. There is far more that the Government can do to square this circle”.

As one might expect, some speakers defended, and others criticised the approach and conclusions of the committee. The most strongly worded criticisms of the report came from Lord Peston. He said “...I dislike this report intensely. Indeed, I can tell your Lordships that I regard the report as the worst produced in this House in my 21 and a half years here; I would like to ensure that that is on the record”. “...we have a report in which the opinions of a xenophobic front group such as Migration Watch are given the same weight as those of the Institute for Public Policy Research – an outstanding research body – and the Government themselves. I find this lack of judgment on the part of the committee amazing”. “On the economics, the report is simply a ragbag: a bit of this and a bit of that. At no point is a full set of assumptions laid out, either for the short-term quasi-static model or for a long-term dynamic model”. After further discussion of assumptions, Lord Peston said: “I am even more struck by the total lack of common sense on the part of the Economic Affairs Committee. I think that I am right in saying that it failed to take evidence from some easily accessible foreign entrepreneurs whose activities have clearly benefited our economy”. Lords Wallace, Dubs and Haskel disliked the 'tone' of the report. Lord Dubs claimed “...the anti-immigration lobby had a field day when it (the report) was published”.

But Baroness Cox responded to Lord Peston's accusation about Migration Watch:
“My Lords, I begin by declaring two interests. I have been a member of the Migration Watch Advisory Council for several years, and I am also a member of the cross–party parliamentary group on balanced migration. As a member of the advisory council of Migration Watch, I deeply regret the characterisation by the noble Lord, Lord Peston, that it is a xenophobic body. I resent it deeply. I hope that he will rethink, because there is no cause for such an allegation”. However, Lord Peston refused to comply.

The full debate may be read at Hansard.

(Parliamentary material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO on behalf of Parliament).

Read an account of the debate at a website dealng with social housing and public sector news

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