According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) the number of foreign workers in the UK increased by 175,000 to 2.4 million last year while the number of British workers fell by 234,000 to 27 million.
This information has apparently been released by the ONS without pre-warning the government. Advance knowledge of these statistics and the ability therefore to spin and leak the information in a way that maximises the benefit to the government has been a huge benefit to Brown's government (and Blair before him of course).
Controlling the numbers, how, when and what is made public became so much part of the spinning apparatus built up in Alistair Campbell that everyone was starting to question the accuracy and reliability of all government statistical announcements. The setting up of the ONS was supposed to add confidence in the figures, but I'm sure no Labour Minister thought the ONS would ever dare to act without government's advance approval. However, if the ONS is really going to release figures without spin or without the government "filter" then maybe such information may once again become believable.