The coalition needs to get its line straight on Romania and Bulgaria
Nick Clegg contradicts Iain Duncan Smith and says that the government has estimated the number of Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants expected next year.
Has the government estimated the number of Romanians and Bulgarians expected to emigrate to the UK next year? At the moment, it depends who you ask. Following a freedom of information request by the NS, Eric Pickles's department told me last week that it "holds" the information but was deciding whether "the public interest in withholding [the figure]...outweighs the public interest in disclosing it". Following an identical FOI to the Home Office, I was similarly told that a figure could be released after an "internal review".
But in an appearance on The Andrew Marr Show last Sunday, Iain Duncan Smith suggested that no figure existed. Here's the transcript.
Eddie Mair:… estimates of Romanians and Bulgarians who might come here. It’s one thing not torelease them, but have they been compiled?Iain Duncan Smith:Not to my knowledge.Eddie Mair:You haven’t seen any statistics?Iain Duncan Smith:No, no, no, I’ve asked whether or not there is any reasonable or rational figure thatcan be gained. And to be honest with you, the last government got it so badly wrong,it just shows you that estimating the numbers coming through is incredibly difficult.