Monday, 22 May 2006

Going by the numbers

Believe it or not, I often agree with the Nationalists in saying that London's domination of the economy is to a considerable extent caused by the UK's unique degree of political centralisation. But this is just ridiculous:
According to a Parliamentary Answer by the Home Office there are less people working for the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) in Scotland than working at Gatwick Airport. Commenting on the answer the SNP's Shadow Home Affairs spokesperson, Stewart Hosie MP, said that it highlighted the metropolitan employment bias of the London Government.
I know that this may seem rather odd to Scottish politicians but the purpose of jobs is to provide a service. The resulting employment is a consequence of that service provision. The IND's purpose is to man the borders. Whether they actually do so is quite another matter of course. Is it not just possible that the large immigration staff at Gatwick has something to do with passenger numbers?

From the website of the Civil Aviation Authority we find the following figures for international passengers in 2005 (in thousands):

Gatwick 28,752
Glasgow 4,174
Edinburgh 2,332
Prestwick 1,769
Aberdeen 1,124
Scatsa 111
Inverness 6
Sumburgh 3

So that's 9,519 thousand international passengers in Scotland (plus around 100,000 on the Zeebrugge/Rosyth ferry) as against 28,752 thousand at Gatwick. It seems to me that the staff numbers are about right, unless of course the SNP think that passengers arriving at Scottish airports from England should be given the once over by the immigration officers.

(On that last point, I was rather surprised to learn that domestic passengers at Edinburgh were 6,116 thousand which is damned close to Heathrow's 6,673K.

And a question: are all those "international" passengers at Scatsa travelling to and from Norway or do oil rigs count as "abroad"?)

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