Dear Mr Timms,
Thank you for your letter of 2 June about the written response to your Parliamentary Question to ask how many people in 2019 were given leave to remain in the UK subject to the ‘no recourse to public funds’ condition.
We agree that the response was confusing and unclear about why the data could not be provided.
The application of the ‘no recourse to public funds’ condition to those staying in the UK has been a significant focus of attention in past months yet data and statistics to inform the discussion are lacking.
The Office for Statistics Regulation have contacted the Home Office’s Head of Profession for Statistics, who is investigating how good quality statistics can be developed. As the Home Office carries out this work, it should consider user needs and what analyses may be possible, for example breakdowns by age and visa category. In the meantime we would urge the Home Office to look to publish estimates, while recognising that these will have larger margins of error. This would be acceptable under the Code of Practice for Statistics provided the uncertainties were described appropriately.
Sir David Norgrove