Now we turn to the far more difficult matter of immigration which is often confused with those seeking asylum, mainly because of imprecise statements in the media or, once again, the type of politician who appeals to the lowest common denominator ............ prejudice. All too often we here the term, "illegal immigrants" whereas, in fact no person entering this country (or attempting to enter this country) is illegal until they have been assessed following an application for entry or because they are seeking asylum. Up until they are refused entry or deemed not to be in need of asylum they are all legal. We have already looked at the refugee problem so now we turn to the other reasons for seeking entry into the UK but now at a local level ........... in fact as it affects our region of Amber Valley.
During the past few years many have been persuaded to believe that we are being inundated by immigrants and it saddened me to hear this sentiment repeated on many a doorstep when out campaigning during the election in May. I did my best to replace myth with facts but all too often the persistent drip of sensationalist headlines and the corrosive and xenophobic rhetoric of the Tories and UKIP had done its worst leaving decent folk with the impression that our country, even our county was besieged by immigrants. It is my task today to continue the job of providing fact instead of fiction, truth instead of insidious falsehood.
Now for the facts about Amber Valley
Using the 2011 census; specifically the element which contains details of those whose address has changed in the previous 12 months (specifically those over the age of 1), we find that:
4,650 moved into the district of Amber Valley.
4,312 moved out
6,208 moved internally (from one AV address to another AV address).
338 represents the net change in the Amber Valley population due to the movement of people.
(Edit 16/08/2015 - I have been asked, "what is the total population of Amber Valley?" - The 2011 census figure was 122,300. There are estimates for the years up to 2014 on the ONS website but you might like to refer to this document: Forecasts of population and households ........... Amber Valley for further information).
Of the incomers 397 came from abroad, split 52% females and 48% males. What the census does not show is the nationality or ethnic origin of these migrants. many would be British citizens returning from living abroad, yet more would be Commonwealth citizens taking up residence with many of the rest being EU citizens. How many of the 397 were from other countries or perhaps refugees the data does not state. It is well to remember that there are 5.3 million (5,300,000 represents approximately 1 in 11) British citizens living abroad and that there is a continual flow of UK passport holders coming and going across our borders as they change residence.
What data is that you might well ask? It's here: An analysis of 2011 Census data for Amber valley. Hopefully this link works for all of you and I do urge you to explore this. By placing your cursor over the elements of the chart you can find out, for instance, how many children aged between 1 and 15 moved to York .......... there were 12 of them; or how many people over the age of 1 moved between Amber Valley and Derby ...... 777 moved into Amber Valley whilst 729 moved to Derby. Follow the link and have a dabble yourself.
On the face of it we are left with the impression that 1 in 12 of those who moved into the area are from abroad but, by referencing the data available from the Oxford Migration Watch (much quoted by UKIP so I'm quoting from a hostile source here) there were a total of 200 overseas migrants into Amber Valley in the years 2010 to 2014, an average of 50 per year or, say, 1 per week. From accessing more recent ONS census data (from 2014) the number of migrants into Amber Valley increased to over 5.600 in that previous year so the ratio of migrants from abroad to migrants from inside the UK was approximately 1 in 27, a change from the 2011 figure of 1 in 12. I suspect that the true figure is somewhere in between but this will only emerge as the more recent data undergoes further study or we get a better understanding from the 2021 census.
I do also question the ONS data on the outflow of foreigners in 2010/11 because I know of 5 foreign nationals who left Amber Valley in that period yet they do not show up in this data. The census is about as reliable a source as we can get for macro data but it can be deceived if the census forms drop through a letterbox on the wrong date or into recently vacated premises. This survey is based on a change of address within the last 12 months and can miss some movement.
So ............... do you feel swamped by foreigners?
I don't. I welcome the mix of cultures and detest the prejudice and near hysteria that some of our so-called leaders in society seem hell bent on whipping up. There are some very palpable myths flying around which have to be confronted, the questions of housing, social security, use of the health service, jobs and wages being the most obvious. Oh and we can add to that education and schools. I promise that BelperStuff will not shrink from these issues but will endeavour to dig out the relevant data so that those that follow this blog can make up their own minds, not from the rhetoric of rabblerousers but from cold, hard facts.
A final fact
In 2010/11 there were 85 people who moved from Amber Valley to Sheffield with only 47 moving in the other direction. That is a net outflow of 38. Of those moving to Sheffield 82 are shown as between the ages of 16-49 with 39 of that age group returning to AV. I suspect that this section of the data is capturing students who choose to live near their place of study, perhaps Hallam University but only a more detailed analysis would show the truth of that assumption. I included this "final fact" just to whet your appetite and to demonstrate what can be gleaned if you follow up the link, which I will repeat: http://www.nomisweb.co.uk/census/2011/MM01CUK_ALL/chart/1132462151.