There had been a press release by the ONS today of which much has been made in the media
(here). It is the latest official estimate of migrants into the country and is spun so badly that even a small child could see the holes.
Firstly, it measures international people traffic in and out of the country and secondly the number of new NI numbers issued. Using both these measures it comes up with 1.5 million foreign nationals working in the UK this last year and 400,000 new economic migrants (in one year!).
This is a big number, but crucially help the government by ignoring:
a) asylum seekers,
b) people who don't register for NI, i.e. all the casual labourers, lots of bar staff, waitresses etc,
c) even if you did register for NI, you may have left the country again
d) People who entered the country without needing any checks, e.g. if you arrive by coach at Victoria you may have to flash your passport but no register is taken and there is not a passenger manifest on these services (I have done one recently myself), you buy a ticket for cash like a bus or train.
So if you think about it, either up or down, this number released today is nonsense and provides no guide at all for us to work with.
It reminds me of the way the British Crime Survey, also ONS run, comes up with a figure for unreported crime which the government then combine with Police statistics to enlighten us of the fall every year(here). This is brilliant, they contact people up at random, ask if your a victim and then publish a figure as unreported crime. This is of no value; it leads only to one of two Orwellian statements;
This year there is a fall in unreported crime
This year there is an increase in unreported crime
You could not make it up, the ONS badly needs independence to enable its managers to do something useful like compile a meaningful inflation measure rather than fantasise about this nonsense.