The independent statistics body for Britain has a ’sinister’ attitude to immigration, a minister has claimed.
Phil Woolas questioned the motives of the Office for National Statistics in publishing figures showing one in nine UK residents was born abroad.
The immigration minister revealed that he had tried to prevent the organisation publishing the data and accused it of ‘playing politics’.
Ministers appear to be going on the offensive against the ONS and its chief statistician, Karen Dunnell, after a series of rows over official data.
But Mr Woolas’s broadside is likely to trigger a backlash from MPs, who say the body must be able to collect information and provide impartial analysis free from Government interference.
Ministers were said to be ‘fizzing’ with anger last month after the ONS published figures showing the growing numbers of immigrants getting jobs while the British workforce declines.It revealed that the number of foreign workers increased by 175,000 to 2.4million last year while the number of British fell by 234,000 to 27million.