Poor immigration data 'hindering UK economy', says Lords report

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London, Mar.31 : Britain's economy and public services are being put at risk by the failure of the Government to keep track of the number of immigrants, a House of Lords report will warn tomorrow. Key decisions on interest rates and the allocation of more than 100 billion pounds of public money are being severely hampered by the "serious inadequacy" of basic data on those entering the country to work and study, it is expected to say.

According to The Telegraph, the warning will be sounded after an eight-month inquiry into immigration by the Lords' Economic Affairs Committee, which has heard evidence from ministers, officials, academics, business leaders and trade unions.

Regarded as the first comprehensive and authoritative analysis of the economic impact of immigration to the United Kingdom, the report reserves its worst criticism for the poor statistics kept on the number of immigrants and emigrants, which it says will have serious ramifications.

The Lords found that the data was based on small, outdated surveys described repeatedly in the report as "seriously inadequate", "intrinsically unsatisfactory", "unreliable" and "incomplete".

The report will disclose that the committee was told by Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, that "we just do not know how big the population of the United Kingdom is".

Likewise, if it is not known how many people are living in the UK it is impossible to correctly assess how much needs to be spent on services such as health and education to meet people's needs.

One peer on the committee told the Telegraph: "The more we looked at the flawed statistics, the more we felt the Government is flying blind on immigration."

The committee will conclude that "the economic benefits of net immigration to the resident population are small and close to zero in the long run".

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