Net migration at 323,000 prompts EU referendum row

Is this another storm in a teacup?

This Blog has already published information from another blogger, showing that both British people are the EU’s biggest beneficiaries of the right to settle anywhere in the EU and migrants that come here from our European neighbours pay far more in tax than they take in services and benefits so they are a net benefit to our society.

There’s a question about the amount of space available in the UK, perhaps – but there are arguments to counter claims that we are overcrowded.

So this is a pointless argument. Isn’t it?

New figures showing net migration to the UK remains near record levels have sparked a row between the two sides in the EU referendum debate.

The difference between the number of people leaving and arriving was 323,000 in the year to September.

David Cameron said the figure was “still too high” but the government was taking action to bring it down.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage says the only way to get immigration under control is to leave the EU in June’s referendum.

Source: Net migration at 323,000 prompts EU referendum row – BBC News

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35 thoughts on “Net migration at 323,000 prompts EU referendum row

  1. Spamlet

    Population increase is rounding up to about half a million every year. The bulk of that is through net immigration and births to earlier immigrants. Until 1994 immigration was balanced by emigration and population growth was levelling off.

    EU countries are not the main sources: India, and, surprisingly, China, have led the field recently.

    Whatever your views on immigrants themselves, there is no doubting that an annual population growth rate larger than the population of Bristol *every year* is a serious problem.

    I think that, to an extent, the influx has been fuelled by excessive housebuilding allocations in the planning rounds approaching the end of the 90s. The population was actually approaching zero growth at the time, and economists were in a flap about ‘aging populations’, because infinite growth requires infinite increase in consumers.

    The expected house price crash happened, but the developers’ bacon was saved by the start of the influx of population from the new EU members. Since then, the developers have never had it so good, but even they can’t build a new Bristol every year, so the housing crisis continues, when, in fact, had it not been insisted upon that we needed infinite population growth ‘for the good of the economy’ (not for people), our population would have levelled off and homes would have been cheap as chips.

    Unfortunately, as the country got obsessed (the BBC in particular) with their windfalls from ever increasing house prices, nobody was ever going to let the building industry fail, so immigration has to go on, to keep the prices rising.

    You could say, that the people who are complaining the most, are the Tories and their business and developer friends, who actually are largely responsible for creating the situation that drags people here.

    I don’t know if you saw the European population growth projections last year, but they actually showed that nearly all of Europe’s net increase in population for years to come, will be in Britain!

    When we already have to import more than 60% of our food and animal feed, this whole situation seems extremely foolhardy–quite apart from the needless environmental damage!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Right, so you agree the immigration issue has nothing to do with the EU, because most immigrants to the UK are coming from elsewhere. So you must agree that Cameron’s ‘renegotiation’ has nothing to do with the UK’s problem in this regard, and that arguing about it is a pointless waste of time. Yes?

      As for the housing crisis, it’s because developers haven’t been building anything like enough houses – never mind “a new Bristol every year” – because they want to push prices up. It isn’t that they can’t build – it’s that they don’t want to. There are many existing planning permissions that simply aren’t being actioned. Immigration doesn’t have to happen to push those prices up; lack of new building is the cause.

      So Europe’s net increase in population will all be in the UK, will it? While Germany and many other EU countries are taking huge numbers of refugees from the Middle East? Hmm.

      1. Spamlet

        I’m afraid that it is disappointing, Mike, that you turn out to be yet another person who pronounces on population without actually looking at the figures. [I won’t go into planning at this point, but, having spent around 40y fighting housebuilding applications, and predicting the crash at the turn of the century, I have seen it first hand.]

        Here are the official European and UK projections to 2080:

        EU pop to increase by 13.2 million by 2080;

        UK pop projected to be 85.1 million by 2080; (Germany to *fall* by 3 million.)

        UK pop 64.8 million in 2015.

        Thus UK pop increase projected = 20.3 million;

        Which is actually 7.1 million *more* than the growth for the whole of Europe because we increase as the others decrease.

        Quotes from Europop2013:

        “Europop2013 projections indicate that the EU-28’s population will grow overall by 2.6 % between 2014 and 2080, with the number of inhabitants increasing by 13.2 million persons. The EU’s population is projected to peak around 2050, reaching 526 million persons, an increase of 18.7 million (or 3.7 %) compared with the situation in 2014. The size of the EU’s population is then projected to fall to reach a low of 519.8 million by 2075, after which a modest increase is projected through to 2080, when the EU-28’s population is projected to still be around 520 million persons (see Figure 1 and Table 1).”l

        “By 2080, Germany is likely to be the third largest EU Member State in population terms, behind the United Kingdom and France”

        “For almost half of the EU Member States, the projections for 2050 indicate that population numbers will be lower than in 2014, with Germany (74.7 million) and Poland (34.8 million) both recording decreases of more than 3 million inhabitants. By the end of the time horizon in 2080, Europop2013 projections indicate that the EU Member States with the largest populations will be the United Kingdom (85.1 million inhabitants), France (78.8 million), Germany (65.4 million), Italy (65.1 million) and Spain (47.6 million).”–%20population%20projections&lg=en

        [UK 64.8 in 2015:]

        I expect nobody will take any notice of this of course. Everyone prefers spin to figures.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        I’m surprised that you haven’t prefaced these figures with the fact that you are spinning them.
        Projections to 2080?
        That’s 65 YEARS away!
        We are discussing a short-term situation that has arisen over the past few years and may subside over a similar – or shorter – time period.
        The projections you are using are unlikely to have anything to do with the issue we are discussing.

      3. Spamlet

        You twice accuse Tony Dean of short term thinking, and then claim that 2080–the year to which the population projections refer is too far ahead to worry about! 2080 is only one lifetime away, and that will go in a flash, as far as taking effective measures to change it go. As I’ve said, it’s not just a matter of reducing fertility and getting an instant drop: there is inertia in the system and fertility rates can only be known for a particular time, decades later when the current women have stopped bearing children.

        This sort of ignorance is exactly why population projections are so important. Everyone–especially economists–seems to think ‘oh the scientists will sort it out’, and then they go on ignoring the scientists and their warnings, and the figures they produce. These projections–bar unforeseen incidents like the current refugee crises–*will* ‘be trying to come true’ unless something is done about it *now*.

        I say ‘trying’, because, to me, it does not look like they *can* come true.
        You scoff at Tony Dean and assume that the rest of the world owes us a living and will go on providing us with food even though all we have to offer for trade are fundamentally useless ‘financial services’. You even claim he’s not looking at the wider World picture, as if that was somehow getting better! But the wider picture is worse–which is why we’re getting all the migration in the first place.

        As the World heads to around 11 ‘billion’ (milliard) souls, the bulk of growth will be in sub-Saharan Africa, because a few countries still cling to having traditionally large families. While this is happening, the World climate is changing, with an expected increase in desertification; the World’s soils are vanishing fast due to forest cover clearance and intensive farming, such that there are only an estimated 50 harvests left! At the same time we have all but fished out the oceans, and factory ships are even now getting ready to plunder what is left in the Arctic when the ice melts this Summer; and, on the land, we rely on pollinators for 75% of our food, but more than 40% of insect pollinators are faced with extinction! In addition, the need to move away from fossil fuels [useless without urgently reducing population AND consumption–which is ignored.], is losing both forests and savanna/serrado to ‘biofuel’ wood pellets, and dual purpose soy, and palm oils. The CO2 excess in the atmosphere is acidifying the oceans, and preventing the oxygen producing algae like E.hux–that make most of our breathable air–from making their carbonate exoskeletons, and the coral reefs, which are major fish nurseries are dying, just as the mangrove forests that are the other major fish nurseries, continue to be lost to prawn farms and coastal development. While, back in Africa, international businesses–particularly Chinese–are landgrabbing what agricultural and forest lands still remain, at an ever increasing rate, to supply their own countries, while leaving natives destitute.

        The pressures facing our maxed out food supply, are already huge with the current, grossly excessive, population and insane economic system, ruled by short termist, greed, yet everyone just keeps their heads firmly in the sand, and assumes everything will be alright.

        Well, unfortunately, it won’t, and already isn’t. The refugee problem we have at the moment is going to become the norm. The battlefields are already in the driest places, where young people have seen their futures disappearing, and are prepared to fight to get them back, while terrorist groups are happy to take advantage of the situation. As the whole region is dependent on fossil water, which isn’t being replenished (As is the Indian wheat crop, and much of US food production.), things really can only get much worse as population is still being driven upwards. It is very likely that a major Worldwide famine will occur before those projections of 2080 come to pass–even the much vaunted Paris climate agreement is not worth the paper it’s printed on, because it simply assumes the technology to sequester all our CO2 emissions is just going to appear out of thin air and save us!

        Sorry Mike, I’ve followed your posts for some time, and it’s clear that you’re on the right side, but you really need to keep up with much more of what is going on in the World–especially in environmental sciences–before you start making sweeping statements that are clearly contraindicated by the evidence that is all around us. The World does not owe the UK a living, and, when the Yanks start to feel the pinch, we could be starving and at each other’s throats in no time–there’s only enough food in the ‘just in time’ system, to last a few weeks, and no way to resupply it from our own land, with its extra half million mouths a year to feed–none of which would be here if it was not for perverse ‘economics’.

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        I’m saying that the arguments I’m seeing are very much of the “hit and hope” variety – didn’t score a hit with the short-term argument? Then it’s off to a projection to 2080 that doesn’t mention immigration at all. You refer to ignorance, yet you are not using these projections as they were intended.

        I’m not scoffing at Tony. I simply don’t agree with what he’s saying and have put up arguments to support my position and oppose his. Anyone reading the dialogue can draw their own conclusion.

        Where did I say the rest of the world owes us a living? We are fully capable of paying for the food we import. The UK is the fifth-largest world economy, remember.

        Your arguments about the amount of food available in relation to population refer to WORLD population, WORLD food production – not to the UK. They are irrelevant to the immigration argument here. I have already acknowledged that there is an international issue, because there is. But it would be entirely wrong to use that as an argument against immigration into a single country. In fact, it would be denying the larger picture.

  2. Tony Dean

    Britain is at least 40 million people over the long term sustainable population carrying capacity. Quite frankly ANY immigration is madness and has been for a very long time.
    ALL politicians are in denial of this because they just want to be in power and are going a three wise monkeys about it.
    I have had knock down drag out rows in the street with Green party canvassers because nowhere in their literature at election times is population carrying capacity mentioned.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Why is that worrying? It’s a contribution to the Treasury, paid from the pay packets of those people. Good for them! They are helping the UK.

      1. Tony Dean

        Mike, you seem to be completely ignoring the social consequences of mass immigration on the population carrying capacity problem, plus the problems caused by it are born by the poorest most disadvantaged British citizens.
        ANY immigration is a disaster for the future of the country, the resources cannot in the long term support it.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        But you are falling prey to short-term thinking.
        Just because immigration is high now, that doesn’t mean it always will be.
        In fact, the situation has only arisen in recent years. It is high-profile now because politicians from UKIP and the rest of the ‘Out’ brigade want something emotive with which to stir up the public.
        Succeeded, haven’t they?

  3. Tony Dean

    Mike it is not me falling prey to short term thinking. Most of those immigrants are going to breed and at a far higher rate than Brits do, and that is a fact based on actuarial data not supposition.
    The population needs to be planned back down to the carrying capacity and stopping ALL immigration is the major factor in achieving that.
    It should have been done as far back as 1945.
    It is politicians and naïve no borders type who are leading the country to a time when nature will get the population down to the carrying capacity the hard way.
    I am not going to get into a big argument about this.
    I made very sure I have not fathered any children because I did not want them to live through the very hard times that are going to happen in the not too distant future due to a massive and unsustainable level of population in Britain.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Okay, so you stop ALL immigration.
      That will of course mean that UK citizens will not be allowed to move out of the country as you are effectively closing the country’s borders – and anyway, why should anybody have our people if we won’t have theirs?
      Net difference will be very little as a result.
      If you’re worried about Johnny and Jane Foreigner having lots of kids, perhaps some kind of sex education is called for, when they’re on the way in. Your concerns about this do come across as racist, though, because you seem to be very clearly concerned about foreign people breeding foreign children on British soil.

      1. Tony Dean

        You keep missing the point, Britain CANNOT sustainably support the current population.
        ANY immigration is madness. At some time in the not too distant future if the population is not planned down to the carrying capacity nature will do it the hard way.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Why should the UK have to support the current population all by itself? There are plenty of other countries producing a surplus of food at the moment and, while it wouldn’t do our balance of payments much good, we can buy in from those nations, at least for the foreseeable future.
        Boil your argument down and you’re really speaking out against national borders, so the food can be spread around more easily.
        There IS an issue about population, but it is not specific to the UK and it is not specific to immigration.

    2. Spamlet

      Right with you, Tony Dean, by the way. I find it frustrating and almost weird that hardly anyone bothers to look at the statistics that can be delivered to their inboxes every week by the ONS and equivalent European bodies.

      It should be borne in mind that projections are only that: extrapolations from the situation as it is now (or 2013 for the Euro figs). We do have the power to affect whether the projections occur or not (up to a point, because there is inertia in fertility change effects).

      One thing that may change the next round of projections may be the recent asylum situation. This may have a bigger effect on Germany than here, where their percentage of the whole is fairly low, but as Germany was set to have a declining population this should be likely to have a neutral effect even there.

      1. Spamlet

        Incidentally, ‘Johnny and Jane’ don’t necessarily have more kids, but they do tend to be from the younger and more mobile and fertile members of their home country communities, so they do have a disproportionate effect, when the UK fertility rate was approaching parity at the turn of the century before the balance of immigration was upset. This, clearly, will also exacerbate the declining fertility in some of the Euro states that they leave.

        These are big and complex issues, but few people bother to look at them from all sides.

  4. Barry

    The problem is that without control of the borders we are receiving many not so well educated or accomplished workers form th eu nations whilst those from outside are being denied entry to keep the immigration figures down, this includes Doctors from India, who are very well qualified, and have been the mainstay of the NHS for decades, hence the current shortage of Doctors, it is time we took back control and invoked the system used by the majority of the world where only those who can occupy a job in an area where we have a shortage can get a visa to come here.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      EU immigration into the UK is tiny compared to that from outside the Union, so – oh! That’s your entire argument foiled straight away.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        You’re only looking at the current figures.
        Historically, there have been far more non-EU migrants – the gap has only closed in the last couple of years – and that means the number of non-EU migrants currently in the UK dwarfs the number of EU migrants.

      2. Spamlet

        Ah so now we’re changing the subject too. I thought we were discussing the recently released figures, which show, as they have done for at least the last couple of years, that EU and external migration has been near parity. Nobody was disputing that external migration was the greater portion in the past. But if you want to start having a go at the rest of the World too…

        The fact is–as Tony has also tried very hard to explain to you–that a mouth to feed and body to house, is the same, wherever it comes from. Our small country is already the most crowded bar city states in Europe, and is all set to become a massive population of 85 million, while the rest decline, if nothing is done to change that; and because of the inertia in the system that has to start as soon as possible.

        If you really cared about future generations in this country–whatever their roots–you would be doing your best to stop pouring more and more quarts into pint pots, and come up with some sensible ways to achieve economic parity between states so as to remove the perverse incentive to migrate that currently exists.

      3. Mike Sivier Post author

        I didn’t change the subject at all, although I have responded where you have tried different arguments.
        Now you are just reiterating points that have already been discussed, and trying to attack me.
        And, to be honest, I’ve read enough. Looking down the list, I can see other long comments from you. This is a high-readership blog with a lot of feedback and only one of me, and I don’t have time to read huge essays that have been written with the intention of denigrating my character.
        There’ll be no more from you on This Blog until you’ve cleaned up your act.

      4. Spamlet

        Nobody even bothers to look at the graph at the top of the page (which is itself misleading, by only showing the part that is positive, when it was net zero until mid 90s.).

      5. Mike Sivier Post author

        But then, you haven’t looked at the graphs in the ONS press release that show the recent historical context of the migration figures.

      6. Spamlet

        I’ve read the whole thing: What don’t you understand? I’ve been getting the ONS reports every week for years.

        I started off by simply telling you an important extra fact, which was being ignored by everyone, and, instead of using it constructively, you immediately jumped on me and said was wrong. I provided you with the proof, and you immediately found another excuse to ignore it, and make me waste time proving something else. Just like the politicians you love to hate. You’re just as bad as them.

      7. Mike Sivier Post author

        You haven’t proved anything, and now you’re just trying to attack me for putting forward opposing arguments.

    2. Evan

      Firstly as Mike has pointed out, the majority of the immigrants to this country presently is made up of those countries outside the EU.
      secondly the shortage of Drs has little to do with immigration it’s got a lot to do with the NHS funding levels, JEremy hunt and the fact that we are paying money in subsidised training to would be Drs who are then going abroad because there is better pay and working conditions in other countries because the NHS is being starved of funding but the present government. Even if they come here (and they still are) there may well be no Jobs for them.

      Plus Asian countries are progressing quite nicely on the world stage so there will be less incentive to come here in time.

      1. Spamlet

        “Firstly as Mike has pointed out, the majority of the immigrants to this country presently is made up of those countries outside the EU.”

        No: It’s tending to be around half, but lets not bother actually looking at the report and spoiling the argument.

        “Net migration of EU citizens was estimated to be 172,000 (compared with 158,000 in YE September 2014; change not statistically significant). Non-EU net migration (191,000) was similar to the previous year (188,000).”

    3. Spamlet

      I’m afraid this isn’t strictly true either Barry: India is the top source of immigration, and, surprisingly, China is not far behind, but we never hear about them. In Europe, Poland has had the biggest overall number but they are dropping back now. These figs are all in the report.

      A point I might note is that bringing in aged family members will not affect the fertility figures, but it will increase the burden on services.

      It is also rather strange that the figure of those claiming to be coming to work is only just over half the total 600,000 gross immigration figure, but the NI number issuing is much higher than even the gross immigration figure. I’ve not yet seen a good account of this yet, though some will be students, and, perhaps some apply for numbers after they’ve been here longer and started to have children.

  5. toocomplex4justice

    Don’t worry. Soon hundreds of thousands of starving and penniless disabled people will sell their glasses and prosthetic limbs to pack up and leave as refugees from a brutal mass murder policy where countries such as Syria and Pakistan will take them in shocked by their skeletal bodies and the abuse of their human rights under the despot government now established in the UK with all democratic means of removing it destroyed. Initial protests were defeated with water canon which officials claim were not used as a weapon but just something to help people to go back to work instead of hanging about on the streets.

  6. Tony Dean

    Mike you really do not understand the carrying capacity issue. Practically none of the food imports into the UK have any long term sustainability either. For the same reasons, much of UK high crop yields are unsustainable in the long term.
    That is why ALL immigration is madness and has been since the end of the 2nd World War.
    I don’t want to get into a long debate about this, because quite frankly it does not matter how much the problem is detailed the majority of people stick their fingers on their ears and go La La La.
    I am fortunate in that I made sure I have no children and I will be dead in a few years.
    If immigration is not stopped completely children in Britain today have a very bleak future.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I’m sticking to my last comment. Your issue is with the existence of national borders that prevent food being transported freely to wherever it needs to be.
      There is also a population issue that is not exclusive to the UK and needs to be tackled on an international level.
      None of the issues you have raised are relevant to UK immigration.

Comments are closed.