BBC Question Time, factchecked

Published: 18th Oct 2016

Does "uncontrolled mass migration" push down wages?

“We must not have uncontrolled mass migration because it pushes down wages."

Steven Woolfe MEP, 29 September 2016

Research suggests that immigration has a small impact on the average wages of existing workers, but certain groups of people are affected differently. For example, low-wage workers lose out while medium and high-paid workers gain.

The group most likely to see a reduction in wages because of immigration to an area are resident workers who were originally migrants themselves.

If an area sees a 10% increase in the proportion of immigrants working in semi-skilled or unskilled service jobs, average wages in those sectors decrease by around 2%, according to one particular study by the Bank of England.

But between 2004/06 and 2012/14 the ratio of foreign born to UK born workers across the whole of the UK only rose by 8% in low-skilled and semi-skilled service jobs, so this is a relatively small effect. Other sectors looked at in the report saw smaller increases.

The Conservatives’ migration record

“You presided over the highest rise, the Tory government, net migration is currently at 327,000 a year, the highest it has ever been.”

David Dimbleby, 29 September 2016

Net migration is the difference between the number of people coming to live in the UK and the number moving away. It was 327,000 for the year ending March 2016.

The Office for National Statistics says that “net migration remains at record levels although the recent trend is broadly flat”. This year’s level hasn’t changed much from last year’s.

An estimated 633,000 people came to the UK and around 306,000 left. This is around the same as the year before.

Looking at the rate of increase in net migration each year is trickier, because there’s a large margin of error in the figures.

The largest increase for at least the last 20 years appears to have been in 1998 under Labour, based on the best estimates we have. Net migration rose from around 48,000 in 1997 to almost 140,000 in 1998, a threefold increase.

The most recent significant increase we’ve seen was between 2013 and 2014 when it increased by around 50%, from 209,000 to 313,000.

Are judges deciding whether the UK will leave the EU?

“Now you have a situation where you have people in court, at the High Court, to ask this question, which this government never dealt with: does the Prime Minister have the right to use the royal prerogative to trigger Article 50?”

Bonnie Greer, 29 September 2016

“You don't seriously believe that a vote of the people of this country, who decided to leave the European Union, should be decided by a judge in chambers…?”

Steven Woolfe MEP, 29 September 2016

“He’s not asked to decide it”

David Dimbleby, 29 September 2016

The Lord Chief Justice and two other judges will hear a case about the process of leaving the EU in October. They will not be asked to decide whether the referendum vote is valid or not.

Ms Greer’s description of the scope of the case is almost textbook. It’s about whether Parliament has to authorise the triggering of Article 50 by passing a law or resolution. If not, the Prime Minister—or perhaps the whole Cabinet—could take the decision without consulting Parliament.

But, if the judges decide that the government can’t take the decision alone, that means that starting the process of leaving the EU could be blocked by MPs or Lords. The government is committed to following the referendum result, whereas those in Parliament have differing attitudes to leaving the EU.

The referendum had no legal effect in itself.

Does the Football Association get £30 million a year in public money?

“Did you know the taxpayer gives the Football Association £30 million a year?”

Rod Liddle, 29 September 2016

That’s correct, according to the Football Association.

The FA told us that it has received £7.5 million per year from Sport England over the past four years. It also receives £1.5 million a year for the FA Skills programme.

On top of that, the government puts £10 million into the organisation’s Facilities Fund and £8 million into the FA-led Parklife project. Finally, the FA receives £2 million a year for its coaching programmes.

All together, this adds up to about £29 million of government funding per year.

The organisation’s accounts for 2015 also show multi-year grants of £120 million specifically relating to Wembley Stadium.

Poorer children are less likely to go to grammar schools

“The problem is that not enough children from lower [socio-]economic backgrounds get access into grammar schools—that’s why there isn’t the social mobility you’re talking about.”

BBC Question Time audience member, 29 September 2016

It’s true that the poorest children are less likely to go to grammar schools.

Less than 3% of pupils going to English grammar schools are entitled to free school meals, according to research from the Sutton Trust from a few years ago. Looking at the latest data for 2014/15, this figure has not changed. For non-grammar schools in the same area, the Sutton Trust found that 18% of pupils were eligible for free school meals.

That isn’t just down to differences in ability. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has found that “amongst high achievers, those who are eligible for free school meals or who live in poorer neighbourhoods are significantly less likely to go to a grammar school”.

It said the question remains whether this is because poorer children are less likely to apply or less likely to get in once they apply.

Grammar school pupils are much less likely to be from deprived areas. Ofsted rank schools based on the average level of deprivation found at the postcodes of pupils from the school: 1 means the pupils are from the least deprived postcodes and 5 means they are on average from the most deprived.

40% of grammar schools achieved a 1 rating, compared to 20% of non-selective secondary schools. In contrast, less than 1% of grammar schools achieved a 5 rating, compared to 21% of non-selective secondary schools.

Pupils with the same level of maths at key stage two, or between the age of seven and eleven, were more likely to go to a grammar school if they did not receive free school meals according to a study of students between 2009/10 and 2011/12 by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The government has acknowledged that pupils eligible for free school meals are less likely to go to grammar schools. It says it wants to find out more about the impact of selective education on pupils from low income backgrounds who aren’t eligible for free school meals.

Evidence suggests pupils who get into grammar schools perform better than they would under comprehensive education, and pupils who don’t perform worse.



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