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Mythbust

Leave camp’s migration forecast baloney

by Hugo Dixon | 10.06.2016

Myth: Net migration from the EU could be 5 million between now and 2030 if we stay in the EU

InFact: 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.

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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.

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.

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.

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. The “research” from which Vote Leave derives this 13 million figure is based on a statistical error that would fail GCSE maths, as this article demonstrates.

This article is an adaptation of a piece that previously appeared on InFacts.

Tags: , , Categories: Migration

2 Responses to “Leave camp’s migration forecast baloney”

  • When Boris Johnson was Mayor he NEVER spoke out about immigration being too high.

    In fact in 2009 he made a speech suggesting there should be an amnesty for illegal immigrants and commissioned a study from LSE on the issue.

    Utterly inconsistent and opportunistic. Again.

  • Birth rates across Europe, but especially in eastern Europe have been in decline for years now, and are well below replacement level. In the long term simple demographics mean that the flow of immigrants from eastern Europe will dry up anyway. No need to leave the EU.