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NIESR: FOI response shows PM’s focus on migrants’ benefits misguided

Yesterday the government finally released some but not all of the data Jonathan Portes requested on EU migrants.  But a distressing lack of transparency and a continued approach of only releasing partial and selective data continues. This is both disappointing and unhelpful for the public debate.

Jonathan Portes says:

 "This new data shows that the Prime Minister's claim that 40 percent of recently arrived European migrants were dependent on benefits was at best selective and misleading.  Given that well over a million European migrants registered for National insurance numbers over the period in question  (and far more since) this suggests that claim rates among newly arrived migrants are, as researchers have always argues, quite low. Once again this suggests that the PM'S focus on this issue is misguided - the "emergency brake"" will have only a modest impact on benefit receipt, and is highly unlikely to have a significant impact on migration flows.

This latest data still leaves some important questions unanswered.  In particular, the government is still refusing to tell us - for obvious political reasons - how many recent European migrants are recorded as being active in the UK labour market."

The freedom of information response can be viewed here

NIESR aims to promote, through quantitative and qualitative research, a deeper understanding of the interaction of economic and social forces that affect people's lives, and the ways in which policies can improve them.

Further details of NIESR’s activities can be seen on or by contacting Switchboard Telephone Number: +44 (0) 207 222 7665


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