David Cameron reported to Statistics Authority over migrant benefits claim

There is no public evidence in support of what Cameron says about the cost of benefits for migrants

 

Outlining plans to restrict benefits for EU migrants, David Cameron claimed today that ’43 per cent of EU migrants rely on the support of the UK benefits system during their first four years in the country. This represents 224,000 EU nationals out of 526,000 new arrivals.’

He went on:

“Downing Street said that EU migrants entitled to so-called ‘in-work’ benefits claimed an average of £5,000 per family, costing UK taxpayers £530 million in 2013″.

This is a pretty big claim, and one that could bolster support Cameron’s plans to place a four-year ban on EU migrants claiming benefits. But is it true? At the moment, we don’t know. That’s because there are no official statistics to support Cameron’s statement. Fact checking organisation Full Fact pointed out today that:

“There is nothing backing these [claims] up on the Department for Work and Pensions’ad hoc statistics page—where non-regular analysis is placed when it is used in public, for example in speeches or the press.”

Following an intervention by Full Fact in 2010, the UK Statistics Authority  made clear that the Department should put in place procedures to ensure that statistics would not be used in public without being independently published. As Full Fact’s Phoebe Arbold wrote, ‘Those procedures failed today.’

For this reason, Full Fact have reported David Cameron to the Statistics Authority for his claims. As it stands, Cameron has presented an argument for one of his EU negotiation point without any evidence.

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left foot Forward

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