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Numbers matter

It is time for mainstream politics to debate the scale of British immigration

By Bob Rowthorn   August 2006

Although the government refuses to discuss migration numbers, the issue is likely to be forced up the agenda. This short article provides some of the background that should be required for an informed debate. Working from official projections, I have quantified the impact of immigration on the total population of Britain and on its composition.

The chart shows projections of the future population of Britain under various assumptions about net migration. With one exception, all projections are taken from the website of the government actuary’s department. The curve labelled “zero net migration” shows what would happen if there were no…

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