Finally revealed - true size of Newham’s population

Crowds f Oxford Street, central London

Crowds f Oxford Street, central London - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Revised figures released by the Office for National Statistisc have revealed that Newham’s true population is 310,500.

The 68,000 ‘ghost residents’ came to light when the Office for National Statistics this week revealed Newham’s true population, counted in the 2011 census, is 310,500.

The borough was expexcted to have a population of 242,000 in the 2011 count. Government funding to the borough for essential services is based on population numbers - meaning that for the decade since the last census, Newham has not been receiving enough government cash.

The ONS said the counting shortfall - the highest in the country - happened because previous predictions had underestimated the level of international migration into the borough over the last decade.

The revised figures will add more power to claims by many town hall, including Newham, that they are underfunded because of inaccurate population statistics.

Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales said: “We have long been concerned about an undercount by ONS of our population and associated funding gap. The ONS figures confirm this (building on provisional figures published in November 2011).

“We have previously invited the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) to review our 2012-13 and 2013-14 funding settlement based on this information. We are writing again to CLG to invite them to do so.

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“This is on the basis that this undercount has been treated as a one off and therefore ‘damping’ has been applied (this is the formula by which CLG make sure that year on year fluctuations are managed.

“In essence we have been treated as if 70,000 people had moved in one go rather than being underfunded for almost 10 years).

“Our losses over many years are significant – each lost person is (according to London Councils) worth approximately £600. This is at a time when we are facing deep cuts in our grant from government and is unacceptable.”

Pete Large, head of population estimates unit at the ONS, said the discrepancy was picked up by the introduction of improved methods which took account of the impact of international migration.

He said previous methods had underestimated the number of people moving into the borough.