Socialist Worker

Statistics watchdog raps Tories over immigration spin

by Anindya Bhattacharyya
Issue No. 2287

The government’s statistics watchdog has attacked ministers for releasing lurid figures last week suggesting some 370,000 migrants are claiming benefits.

Sir Michael Scholar, head of the UK Statistics Authority, wrote to work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith to complain about the statistics.

Scholar described the statistics as “highly vulnerable to misinterpretation”.

Tory ministers Chris Grayling and Damian Green announced the statistics in the right wing press last week.

They claimed that the figures showed that Britain’s welfare state is “a magnet for other parts of the world”.

But the actual figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions don’t back this up.

In fact they show that “non-British” workers are far less likely to be drawing benefits than workers classified as British.

Grayling and Green’s racist scaremongering dominated the front pages last week.

The UK Statistics Authority’s sharp complaints about Tory spin have received nowhere near as much coverage.

For a detailed rebuttal of the “migrants claiming dole” story go to

To download Sir Michael Scholar’s letter of complaint to Iain Duncan Smith, go to

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Article information

Thu 26 Jan 2012, 12:50 GMT
Issue No. 2287
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