Ukip accused of ‘scaremongering’ as number of Romanians in UK falls

The number of Romanians and Bulgarians working in the UK actually fell when immigration restrictions were lifted in January, despite warnings that up to 29 million extra migrants would arrive.

Ukip had repeatedly claimed that lifting the work restrictions would "allow 29 million Bulgarians and Romanians to come to the UK".

Farage warned the surge would lead to a "Romanian crime wave," while the party even put a clock on their website counting down the seconds until the new wave of migration began.

However, new figures reveal that the number of Romanian and Bulgarian migrants working in the UK actually fell by 4000 in the first three months of this year.

The figures confirm earlier findings from airlines and coach companies reporting no increase in migrants from the two countries.

Politicians from across the political spectrum jumped on the figures as evidence of Ukip "scaremongering" over the issue.

"Today's figures give the lie to UKIP's scaremongering on immigration," chief secretary to the treasury Danny Alexander said.

"The very modest numbers of Romanians and Bulgarians coming to work in Britain this year is in stark contrast to the inflammatory rhetoric of earlier this year."

The Conservatives accused Ukip of peddling "nonsense".

"These figures just show that Ukip preys on people’s fears, it preys on prejudices in many people," welfare minister Anna Soubry said.

"And they make these wild, actually rather offensive claims, and hey, what happens? It was all a load of nonsense."

Labour's Keith Vaz called on the party to "apologise" for spreading fears about a new wave of migrants.

Romania's ambassador said the figures vindicated his predictions that there would be no great exodus from his country.

"I believe it time now to stop the scaremongering and unfair campaign against Romanians (and Bulgarians, Poles and East Europeans in general) and to concentrate on what we can do together for our common future," he wrote.

"The Romanians' flood to the UK is over even before it started."

A spokesperson for Ukip said they were "not backtracking an inch" on their predictions about immigration from Romania and Bulgaria.

"[This is] based on one quarter's figures on which no statistician would base predictions on," Patrick O'Flynn told the Daily Politics.

He insisted that "We are going to have hundreds of thousands of Bulgarians and Romanians".

The party pointed towards the longer term trend which shows an increase in 28,000 migrants from the two countries working in the UK over the past year.