Mye tyder på at antallet østeuropeere i Storbritannia er langt høyere enn det myndighetene oppgir. Det kan dreie seg om over en million. David Cameron vil ikke ha oppmerksomhet rundt tallet da det kan gi flertall for utmelding av EU.

Det er diskrepansen mellom antall mennesker som passerer tollen på vei inn i Storbritannia, og antallet som får nasjonal helseforsikring som tyder på at det reelle tallet er langt høyere.

Official data from the Office of National Statistics shows that around 760,000 EU migrants have settled in the UK in the last four years.

Those figures come from the International Passenger Survey which sees face-to-face interviews with people flying into Britain. Another survey of Britain’s Labour force suggests a slightly lower figure of around 525,000.

However, a recent spike in the number of EU migrants being given National Insurance numbers has seen experts raise questions of the accuracy of that data.

A total of almost two million EU migrants have been allocated national insurance numbers in the last four years – far higher than the 760,000 counted into Britain via surveys.

Although a significant number of those people may have left the country, the Government was asked in a Freedom of Information request to release data it has on how many of those two million National Insurance numbers are “active”, in order to give a much more accurate picture of how many migrants are currently living in the UK.

Cameron må beskytte flankene: Hans kolleger i EU vil ikke gi ham det fritaket på fire år i trygd og stønad som Cameron ber om. Samtidig er stemningen i nei-leiren så ilter at avsløringer av  at regjeringen trikser med tallene, kan være det som får flertallet til å tippe avgjørende over til et nei.

Steve Baker, the founder of Conservatives for Britain, said: “The government runs the risk of being seen to cover up the true scale of EU migration.”

He added: “The government may have worked out they will lose the referendum if this data is released. They know if people realise the true scale EU migration they will to vote to leave.”

Matthew Elliot, the chief executive of the Vote Leave campaign, said: “It’s predictable but depressing that the Government is covering up immigration statistics to keep the public in the dark when they vote.”

Asked how many EU migrants may have been left off the official statistics, Alp Mehmet of the Migration Watch think-tank, said: “It is certainly tens of thousands and could be hundreds of thousands.”

Meanwhile, an official report also found that thousands of asylum seekers have dropped off the Government’s radar.

Caseworkers told inspectors there were around 10,000 cases where the main applicant and any dependants, such as children, were not in contact with the Home Office or had absconded.