Wednesday 5 November 2014

The BBC's pro-immigration bias on display again

Continuing to compare and contrast...

This is how the Sky News website begins its article on the latest report on immigration (from University College, London:

EU immigrants have boosted Britain's finances by £4.4bn in 17 years but those from outside the EU cost £118bn, a report finds.
EU migrants contribute more to the UK in taxes than they receive in benefits and services, according to new research.
But the study showed those arriving from outside Europe over a 17-year period took more from the public purse than they put back in.

That's a balanced presentation of the two aspects of the UCL report - one showing the positive side of immigration (from the EU) and the other showing the negative side of immigration (from outside of the EU).

Contrast that to the BBC's online article about the report:

Immigrants from the 10 countries that joined the EU in 2004 contributed more to the UK than they took out in benefits, according to a new study.
They added £4.96bn more in taxes in the years to 2011 than they took out in public services, the report produced by University College London (UCL) found.

As you can clearly see, the BBC's initial presentation concentrates only on the report's positive findings about immigration. The £118bn cost of immigration from beyond the EU is not mentioned in these opening paragraphs, whereas Sky News mentions that negative finding twice in its first four paragraphs.

You have to read the entire BBC article very carefully to stop where they mention that £118bn figure - halfway through a bullet point a dozen paragraphs or so down the page (well below the sub-headline 'Positive Picture') - and you have to scroll a long way down the page to get a passing mention of the report's finding that "over the longer term, immigrants to the UK had been a burden on the state". 

Go to the UCL report and read its opening statement and you'll see that it is generally positive - especially about immigration from Europe. [Migration Watch are deeply sceptical about it]. Even the UCL report, however, is much quicker than the BBC to concede that non-EU immigrants have actually been a drain on the UK economy.
We investigate the fiscal impact of immigration on the UK economy, with a focus on the period since 1995. Our findings indicate that, when considering the resident immigrant population in each year from 1995 to 2011, immigrants from the European Economic Area (EEA) have made a positive fiscal contribution, even during periods when the UK was running budget deficits, while Non-EEA immigrants, not dissimilar to natives, have made a negative contribution. For immigrants that arrived since 2000, contributions have been positive throughout, and particularly so for immigrants from EEA countries. Notable is the strong positive contribution made by immigrants from countries that joined the EU in 2004.
The BBC has long been accused of having a pro-immigration bias and this looks like another classic example of that pro-immigration bias in action, doesn't it? 


  1. Further to my previous post on a previous thread I have tracked down the EU's long hand in the report:

    This so called “University of College London” report on immigration (the one that found EU migration benefits us) is actually from something called the Centre for Research and Analysis on Migration based at UCL. It receives funding from NORFACE.

    Who are NORFACE? A coalition of 15 national social science (not economic) research councils.

    And where does NORFACE get its funding from. Well – whaddya know? –

    “NORFACE receives core funding from the European Commission’s 6th-7th Framework Programme, under ERA-NET scheme. ”

    They like to cover their tracks as much as possible.

    Dan Read

    1. I've been re-tracing some of your steps Dan. Well sleuthed! It takes quite a bit of Googling to find the funding details for CReAM and its intimate associate NORFACE. CReAM's EU funding and the BBC's almost-as-well-hidden EU funding really don't help either when it comes to claiming impartiality.

      You're not wrong about how impenetrable the UCL report looks. It would take many hours to read it. Fortunately, some people are doing and spotting the semi-hidden negatives within it. [Half-burying unwelcome aspects of a story within a long piece is a trick the BBC isn't shy of using].

      At least Robert Peston's blog is open for comments. His readers aren't buying his spin one little bit.

  2. The Radio 4 Today interview with Robert Peston was a travesty. No discussion of the report's identification of non-EEA immigrants as being a negative drag.

    But even so, the supposedly positive aspects of the report are based on dubious assumptions which need to be tested.

    Dan Read

  3. According to Breitbart News,

    "Cynics might be interested to note the identity of the lead author of today's report. Christian Dustmann also wrote the ill-judged 2003 Home Office report that played down the numbers of EU migrants that would arrive in the country. Back then the study predicted net immigration following the 2004 EU enlargement "will be relatively small, at between 5,000 and 13,000 immigrants per year up to 2010". As UKIP and the Tories love to tell us, we now know that net migration from these countries was over 80,000 per year".

    I think I'll stick with Sir Andrew Green on matters like this.


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