Magazine article Public Finance

Councils Bemoan 'Hidden People'

Magazine article Public Finance

Councils Bemoan 'Hidden People'

Article excerpt

'Hidden communities' of immigrants could be overlooked in forthcoming government grant settlements to local authorities, putting service provision at risk, urban councils have warned.

Sixteen local authorities convened a 'population summit' last week to discuss the impact on UK cities of poor national immigration data.

The authorities, led by the City of Westminster, claim that the government has miscalculated their populations and say that they could be locked into three-year funding settlements that fail to account for millions of pounds in extra service costs. The authorities claim that the data used by the Office for National Statistics to determine grant settlements do not accurately account for short-term or illegal immigrants.

On September 13, Westminster published research claiming that the borough has more than 13,000 illegal immigrants, many of whom are working, and that 11,000 short-term visitors 'are hidden as they are not registered in official statistics'. The council estimates that this has left it with an £18m shortfall in government cash.

The largest group of short-term migrants identified were Australians. But Westminster is also concerned that poor monitoring of Asian immigrants, for example, means that many are being exploited by employers. …

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