Does Gove know his alarmist 5m migrant forecast is baloney?

by Hugo Dixon | 21.05.2016

Michael Gove says net migration from the EU could be 5 million between now and 2030 if we stay in the union. That would add £9.4 billion a year to the NHS’s costs and increase accident and emergency (A&E) attendance by an eye-popping 57%.

The Vote Leave boss’s claims are based on “research” by Vote Leave that is riddled with errors.

The key faulty assumption is that 82 million Turks will join the EU in 2020. This is described as the date on which Turkey is “scheduled” to become a member. But there is zero chance of this happening.

While it’s true that Turkey is a candidate to join the EU, what Gove doesn’t say is that it would first need to prove it is a modern European democracy. That means ticking 35 boxes on everything from human rights to the economy. Even then, we could just say no – as could each of the other 27 nations.

Turkey applied to join nearly 30 years ago, in 1987. Since then it has ticked just one box. At this rate, it will join the EU in 986 years. In the year 3002.

Vote Leave uses another inaccurate assumption to translate its fantasy 5 million figure into a cost for the NHS – namely that each EU citizen uses our health service as much as each native Brit.

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    But Gove knows, or ought to know, that EU migrants are younger than Brits: only 4% are 65 or over compared to 15% of the UK population as a whole. The Vote Leave boss surely also knows that old people use the NHS much more intensively than young ones. It is, therefore, ridiculous to assume that each EU citizen costs the health service as much as each Brit.

    Gove also ignores the contribution EU migrants make to our health service: 9% of our doctors, for example, come from other EU countries. EU citizens also have higher employment rates than native Brits, meaning that they pay in more taxes than they consume in public services. In other words, they are providing the wealth that keeps the NHS running.

    From the fantasy 5 million figure, Vote Leave proceeds to derive an extra 13 million A&E attendances – meaning EU migrants are expected to need emergency treatment on average two and a half times a year. By contrast, despite being older, our current population needs emergency treatment only once every three years.

    Gove is supposedly the big brain of the Leave camp. If he doesn’t know Vote Leave’s “research” is baloney, he’s not as smart as people think. And, if he peddled it knowing it was baloney, he is deliberately misleading the voters.

    Hugo Dixon is the author of The In/Out Question: Why Britain should stay in the EU and fight to make it better. Available here for £5 (paperback), £2.50 (e-book)

    Edited by Jack Schickler

    7 Responses to “Does Gove know his alarmist 5m migrant forecast is baloney?”

    • Another load of rubbish from InLies. I note now you will only share your posts and not allow comments WHY? Covering up lies !!!

      • … and yet you managed to comment on the article!

        Please provide a detailed list of what the “lies” are in the article, so that they can be proved or disproved.

    • Sadly the Brexiters don’t recognise the true facts when they stare them straight in the face. What terrifies me if we were to leave is that both our ‘Human Rights,’ and ‘Workers Rights’ guaranteed under our membership of the EU would be quickly Repealed as these people don’t want any hindrances to exploit us to the Full!

      • We all know that not every non UK citizen will want to migrate here. But how many would be too many? Do Bremainers have a concept of “too many” in this context?

    • Where I think the official leave campaign have miscalculated is that by morphing into Farage and building up the hype and distortion about immigration they are merely stimulating the sort of people who will already be in the leave camp. That’s why all this stuff is not gaining them any advance in the polls.

    • The 5m immigration by 2030 figure is just current net migration X 14 year. Turkey joining the EU is not part of those figures. I’d say 5m is an underestimate.

      Also just having a job doesn’t mean you pay more in taxes than you take out.

      • It does if your job is your main or only source of income and you don’t use health services much. Paying taxes while not claiming any sort of benefit or using the NHS regularly means that you pay more in than you take out. Many people live this way, including immigrants.