Glenn Tingle of UKIP should do a little research before spreading alarm stories about the numbers of immigrants to Britain.
Last month the Red Cross released the results of a survey they had commissioned, which shows the extent of Tingle's misconceptions.
The Independent summarised the survey's findings in an article that could have been written for Tingle and his UKIP supporters. The title reads:
Prejudice and ignorance skew public view of asylum-seekers - study shows 'reality gap' for Britons who think they know about immigration.A spokesman for the Red Cross said: "There is a clear gap between what people think is the level of asylum-seekers entering the UK and the reality. They are getting figures from the media and basing their opinions on perceptions that are not true. The number of refugees coming to the UK is far lower than most people think. It is interesting to note that when people are asked to describe refugees and base their opinions on people they know or have met then you find many more positive associations."
Attitudes to asylum-seekers in Britain are being skewed by gross over-estimation of the numbers of refugees reaching the United Kingdom and prejudice towards immigrants among young people, the British Red Cross says today.
Nearly a quarter of people believe there are more than 100,000 asylum applications every year – about four times the annual figure of 25,670, and just 5 per cent of Britons know to within 10,000 how many refugees come to the UK every year, according to a survey carried out for the charity.
The Red Cross said that the study, published to coincide with a campaign to combat prejudice against refugees, highlights a "reality gap" among Britons on the issue of asylum. It said most people saw refugees as poorly educated and believed that the UK offered shelter to far more migrants than it does.
Of particular concern was the negative image of asylum-seekers among the 18-24 age group, where nearly two-thirds chose the word "uneducated" and 33 per cent used "hostile" when asked to describe refugees.
Nick Scott-Flynn, the head of the British Red Cross refugee service, said:
We provide sanctuary to far fewer people than many developing countries which are less obviously able to cope, such as Chad, Tanzania and Pakistan. We should be proud of the UK's role offering refuge to people in desperate need of safety, and celebrate the skills, talents and contributions that these people bring to the UK.