Peter Hoskin

Was the ONS right to release ‘jobs for immigrants’ statistics?

Was the ONS right to release 'jobs for immigrants' statistics?
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There's an intrgiuing sub-plot brewing over yesterday's ONS statistical release, covered in grand detail by the Times today.  Apparently, ministers are "fizzing with anger" about the publication of numbers showing how many UK jobs go to immigrants, and feel that the ONS chief, Karen Dunnell, is trying to inflame political tensions in the aftermath of the BJ4BW row.  Given how the Government treats statistics - and given that the ONS is meant to be an independent body - I can't see that Dunnell has a case to answer here.  But Keith Vaz tries to concoct one anyway, writing against the ONS release.  He shoots himself in the foot with his opening:

"I'm not against the publication of statistics but they have to be accurate, relevant and very clear."    

To my mind, yesterday's statistics were all three - and, above all, relevant.  Given the current interest in the issue, it would be remiss of the ONS to shield them from public consumption.  And, for the sake of trust, governments shouldn't think differently.