Ed’s Weblog

…now my real blog

Asylum seekers: a few facts and figures

Posted by Ed on May 24, 2003

Recently I wrote about propaganda in the press, and its effect on the public perception of asylum seekers. Daily ‘campaigns’ against asylum seekers in some of the press, combined with the use of inflammatory language by ministers and the police (‘swamping’,‘tidal wave’), have led to a completely distorted view of asylum seekers in the public eye.

The Independent yesterday published a few facts and figures about asylum seekers. A few statistics:

  • According to an opinion poll last year, the public believes that the UK hosts about 23 per cent of the world’s refugees, although the real figure is 1.98%
  • The public overestimates by a factor of 10 the number of asylum-seekers in the UK
  • The public believes that the average asylum-seeker receives about £113 in benefits a week; in reality they receive about £36.54
  • During the controversy over the Sangatte camp in France, the media used 51 different terms to describe asylum-seekers, including ‘parasites’ and ‘scroungers’.

It appears, however, that these so-called ‘scroungers’, actually make a net contribution to the economy:

  • In 1999-2000, immigrants contributed £31.2bn in taxes and consumed £28.8bn in benefits – a net contribution of about £2.5bn to the economy.

The Economist also has a survey about migration.

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