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It was announced on Sunday that the scale of the EU immigration into the UK will be revealed weeks before the referendum. This comes after persistent pressure has led government officials to agree to publish the statistics that have been withheld up until now.
The figures will show how many migrants are currently working and claiming benefits in Britain and they will be published on May 26th. The publication, which has previously been blocked for release by civil servants, could display explosive numbers that may produce a dramatic alteration for the Brexit campaign. The belief is that the exposure of this information will lead voters to support Britain leaving the EU as a current dominating concern within the country is immigration.
The information could reveal up to 1.3million extra EU citizens are living in the UK which will provide a shocking twist in the referendum debate. MPs have been reported in saying that the Government is only releasing the information due to the huge pressure they have received. It is thought that these figures will highlight the extent of lack of control over the borders and the importance of Out campaign.
The news came as Prime Minister, David Cameron dismissed suggestions that the EU referendum is distracting ministers after a series of mistakes and it was more so the case that the media were negatively spinning news of Tory splits. Cameron, in reference to reporters said ‘they’re spending too much time looking at each other’s newspapers…setting each others’ hair on fire’, talking over battles between cabinet ministers.
The outburst comes as a poll of polls suggesting the EU referendum remains on a knife edge with British Citizens swaying to the ‘In’ campaign by 51%, in comparison to the 49% of the ‘Out’ campaign with less than three months to go.
Over the last decade, concerns have risen with the official statistics in relation to the discrepancies over the amount of migrants counted into British airports and those given National Insurance (NI) numbers. It is believed that the scale of migration is far higher than what is being actually being revealed. In the last five years 904,000 EU nationals moved to Britain according to the Office of National Statistics yet 2.25 million NI numbers were issued, which is a gap of 1.3 million.
Back in December of 2015, the civil servants operating at HMRC refused to reveal just how many of the NI numbers were active. They justified this controversial stance based on their belief that it could undermine Cameron’s EU membership renegotiation. However, now HMRC’s chief executive, Lin Homer, has agreed to pass on the statistics to ONS who will, as a result, publish an analysis of the new information to the public on the 26th of May.