The Era Of Small Data—Governments Hiding The Bad News About Immigration
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We are supposed to be living in an era of Big Data, but there are strong trends toward institutions restricting data as researchers come up with inconvenient findings. For example, Tory MP Neil O’Brien reports:

The Great Immigration Data Disaster

Officials are deleting the data we need for a more sensible debate

MAR 4, 2024

Whatever you think about migration policy, the one thing most people can agree on is that we should try to improve the data available to policymakers.

But that is not what’s happening. Quite the reverse.

HMRC [His Majesty’s Revenue & Customs] used to publish data on the amount of tax paid by nationality (together with data on tax credit and child benefit claims). In fact I have used this data in previous posts.

At the start of December I emailed HMRC asking when the data for 2021 would be published. I got an email back from HMRC today, saying it won’t be: in fact it has been discontinued, and won’t be published again: …

This follows on from a separate DWP [Department for Work and Pensions] decision to stop publishing data on welfare claims by nationality.

Those statistics had been published each year for a long time—they were certainly being published a decade ago. …

You might also want data on people’s current nationality (which I don’t think is published either). But it is also perfectly reasonable to want data broken down by original nationality. However, officials don’t want you to have that option.

I have not succeeded in finding out which minister (if any) signed off this data deletion.

So there are two big areas, tax and welfare, where the data we need to make sensible decisions is being discontinued, not improved.

But those aren’t the only problem areas. In lots of other areas, departments have decided not to publish or use the data that is available to them. For example, in criminal justice: …

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