While a debate rages about which immigration figures are the most accurate North East MEP Jonathan Arnott has pointed out that both unsustainably high.
Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) suggest 257,000 EU migrants migrated to the UK between September 2014 and September 2015 but statistics for the same period show 630,000 National Insurance numbers were allocated to EU nationals, which was 7% higher than the previous year.
The ONS and the government claim the NI numbers are not a good way of measuring immigration and say the International Passenger Survey provides the best estimate.
“It obviously suits the government to prefer the method giving the lowest estimate but even using the ONS figures that is still far too many EU migrants coming here thanks to the freedom movement rules,” said Mr Arnott.
“The International Passenger Survey involves giving a questionnaire to people at random as they arrive at sea and airports. In this day and age that is hardly a modern or accurate method. It’s like ‘guess the number of sweets in a jar’ competition except it is actually possible to count the sweeties.
“I am particularly concerned about the effect uncontrolled immigration has in the North East which suffers from high unemployment with the knock-on effect that has on the community.
“There is only one way to get a grip on immigration and that is to leave the EU and regain control of our borders. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do that by voting for Brexit on June 23,” said Mr Arnott.