The report – ‘Estimating the Scale and Impacts of Migration at the
Local Level’ – supports earlier city council calls for the
government to distribute some of the tax revenues it receives from
migrant workers to local authorities that are affected by migration.
It also echoes the city council’s
complaint that existing systems are inadequate for calculating
population growth – and the government’s formula grants – in areas
that have experienced sudden, large-scale inflows of migrant workers
since the enlargement of the European Union in May 2004. The report
further supports the city council’s contention that the number of
migrants in many areas has been significantly underestimated.
“It is good to have an official
report backing up what the city council has been saying for some
time,” said Council Leader, Councillor John Peach. “However, what we
need now is urgent action by the government to correct the
inequalities and inadequacies at the core of the whole issue for the
benefit of existing communities that are affected by migration and
for new arrivals themselves.
“While migrant workers are
generating over £40 billion every year the money isn’t finding its
way back to the local level. Official statistics on how many
migrants are coming and where they are going are inadequate so
much-needed funding for local services isn’t going to the right
Mr Peach said that the sudden inflow
of high numbers of migrant workers had placed pressures on public
services because the government’s formula grant for local
authorities was calculated on out-of-date population estimates.
He said that experience in
Peterborough paralleled other areas covered by the LGA report with
pressure being especially evident in areas such as: housing, with a
rise in prices of cheap housing; extra costs for translation and
interpretation services; work to prevent racial and cultural
tension; health needs, because new arrivals are more likely to
attend hospital accident and emergency departments for minor
problems; and children’s services and education, with difficulties
in dealing with transient families and pressure on school places.
Since Office for National Statistics
estimates of population growth are based on the 10-year census, the
report recommends consideration of a mid-term census in 2016 to
improve accuracy. It also recommends that other data sources – such
as GP registrations, National Insurance numbers and school census
information – should be used to help calculate population figures.
Based on 2006/07 National Insurance
number registrations, overseas nationals make up three per cent of
Peterborough’s population, placing it 23rd in the local authority
immigration rankings. However, Worker Registration Scheme data for
2004-07 places Peterborough sixth (behind South Holland and ahead of
Fenland and East Cambridgeshire) with five per cent of the
population coming from the new A8 European states.
November 2007 -
Peterborough UK Community Website