Internal migration figures show thousands come from London, but no conclusive evidence of benefit cap effect
Significant numbers of people moved from London to Leicester last year. Official estimates show that 2,475 people from 33 London boroughs relocated to Leicester in the 12 months to June 2014.
Around 280 came from Brent alone, while a total of 500 came from Newham, Ealing and Croydon.
Is this the effect of the benefit cap? Are people leaving high-rent London and seeking cheaper places to stay to claim housing benefit and other state benefits?
Before rushing to that conclusion, it’s good to look at the figures for internal migration—moves from one local authority area to another—in more detail.
For one thing, more people left Leicester to go to London. It turns out that 2,484 people went from the city to seek their fortune in the capital.
There are also likely to be quite a number of students. Over 900 of the migrants to Leicester were aged 18 to 22. Children account for 440 of the moves. And while some may be with families priced out of the capital by the benefit cap, there will also be those who’ve simply chosen somewhere with a better quality of life to bring up their family.
Interestingly, of those who moved to London, 782 are of student age, which is fewer than those coming in the other direction. There were also far fewer under 18s—just 155. Most of those moving to the capital, 1,546, were aged 23 or over.
So there may be a suspicion that this is benefit cap migration. But it’s far from conclusive on this data.
The figures are estimates, based mainly on NHS data. So anyone who didn’t register with a doctor probably won’t be counted. The headline news for Leicester is that more people left than arrived. That’s 19,510 as against 16,610 – a fall of 2,900.
No surprises that the main areas for migration are Oady and Wigston, Blaby and Charnwood.
The interactive map below is produced by the Office for National Statistics and shows the picture of internal migration, that is from one local authority area to another, for England and Wales. There’s a short introduction showing how it works. Or skip the intro and hover over an area of the country. Zoom in with the functions on the top left and use the slider bar to see the data on the right. You’ll be able see a representation of movement in and out of the city, not just for 2014 but for years going back to 2011.