Cable: 'Obsessing' about migration figures 'not helpful'

Vince Cable said pursuing a net immigration figure was "not a Government objective" and would "not be helpful", after a report said official migration statistics were not fit for purpose.

The Business Secretary told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show:

There's this net immigration figure that the Conservatives are very preoccupied by, but it's not a Government objective.

Obsessing about a net immigration number is not helpful. The largest number of people counted as immigrants in the UK are overseas students. So the idea that you're pursuing a net immigration figure is very misleading.

We're not a totalitarian state, we don't count every single person. Actually it's quite difficult to be an illegal immigrant in the UK: you can't work, you can't have access to benefits. So the idea that there's some vast, hidden army of people is almost certainly completely wrong.

– Vince Cable

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Migration stats 'a best guess'

Official migration statistics are "not fit for purpose" and leave assessments of the Government's progress in reducing net migration as "little better than a best guess", according to a scathing report.