Last night I noted that a BBC story on Migration Watch’s latest “report” on how foreign students were going to place considerable “strain” on our education system didn’t bother with any balance at all. It just regurgitated the MW press release and contained only their comment.
By this morning, the report had been updated to include a comment by Tim Finch of ippr. There’s a rebuttal here by Phillipe Legrain:
1) By using cumulative figures. If you add up spending on anything over a long period of time, it looks much bigger than it really is. Using a single year’s statistics, 2009, and MW’s deeply flawed methodology, the cost of schooling the children of migrants who have arrived since 1998 is £4.6 billion, out of an education budget of £88 billion.
2) By counting children who have one parent who was born abroad as half due to migration. Since Nick Clegg has a Spanish wife, they include half the cost of educating their kids as being due to migration. Excluding that dodogy use of statistics, the cost in 2009 falls to £3.6bn.
3) By ignoring the taxes that migrants pay. Research by the Home Office, IPPR, Christian Dustmann at UCL and others show that migrants pay more in taxes than they take out in benefits and public services. Allowing for that, it is not UK-born taxpayers who are paying to educate migrants’ children, it is migrants who are subsidising the education of the children of people born in the UK.
Will you see any of this basic analysis in the BBC report? Of course not. Their job is to just convert press releases into stories, and let others offer soundbites. The BBC’s reporting has become a joke.
Update Actually it gets worse. Full Fact report:
Moreover, MigrationWatch say that their figures are based on “the ‘principal projection’ by ONS of UK population over the period 2008 – 2033, projects a total of births of 19.8 million, of which 2.3 million are projected to occur, directly or indirectly, because of net migration”.
But after much searching and head-scratching, Full Fact was unable to discover any ONS projections which broke down predicted birth rates by the parents’ place of birth.
A call to the ONS confirmed that no such statistics exist: “”We certainly don’t publish population projection data by country of migrant or any kind of ethnic background,” said a spokesperson, “the sums themselves won’t have been done by us.”
But you wouldn’t get the BBC report pointing that out either, because they can’t actually be bothered to ask some basic questions.
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Filed in: Race politics