Councillor John Holdich, Cabinet member for Housing, Regeneration and
Economic Development, says the government’s estimates of population
growth in Peterborough do not accurately reflect a substantial
influx of European migrant workers, resulting in the city receiving
less in government funding than it deserves.
He is calling on the government to
allocate sufficient resources so that the Office for National
Statistics (ONS) can speed up changes in procedures and introduce
more accurate counting methods.
Councillor Holdich said: “The ONS
has just revised its estimates of Peterborough’s population but the
new total is still far below estimates based on local knowledge.
Under present plans we could have to wait until the next national
census in 2011 before an accurate picture emerges. In the meantime
the government’s allocation of grant funding for Peterborough is
much lower than we deserve.”
The ONS has revised its 2005
‘mid-year’ estimate of Peterborough’s population up from 159,700 to
163,000 and raised the 2006 mid-year estimate to 163,300 –
suggesting the number of people living in the city rose by only 300
in the past 12 months.
However, Councillor Holdich said the
city council’s own records reveal that 500 additional pupils
enrolled in Peterborough’s primary schools and 200 in secondary
schools in the past year alone.
“It’s obvious that all those new
pupils have parents who have also moved into the city and intend to
stay for an extended period,” said Councillor Holdich. “It is also
obvious that these additional residents are using of services
provided by the city council and that government grants should
properly reflect this population increase.
“The ONS calculations are inaccurate
because they are based on inadequate sources of information. While
official figures estimate that Peterborough’s population has grown
by around 6,000 since the enlargement of the European Union in May
2004, our own estimates put the total around 16,000.”
The ONS says its population
estimates ‘are the best currently possible’ but it has already
acknowledged it needs to act to make them more accurate. Its
estimates are based on a national census every ten years and are
adjusted according to births and deaths. It also builds in an
allowance based on an International Passenger Survey, a sample of
people arriving in Britain.
However, using a United Nations
definition, the ONS includes only long-term migrants, those who say
they intend to stay for at least 12 months. Short-term migrants
intending to stay between three and 12 months are not included.
‘Out-migration’ by people who have entered the country and then
leave again are deducted from the figures after 12 months.
Now the ONS plans to consult with a
number of organisations before developing a new, enlarged household
survey starting in 2008 and the 2011 census.
Figures from the ONS show that
683,000 people from East European countries – two-thirds of them
from Poland – applied to join the UK worker registration scheme
between May 2004 and June 2007. In the three months from April to
June 2007 the total was 50,000 – down from 52,000 in the previous
quarter and 65,000 in the last three months of 2006.
For more information about the ONS
mid-year population estimates visit:
Setember 2007 -
Peterborough UK Community Website