Councils are so concerned that official figures are failing to record the true number of migrants entering their area that they are to start their own polling to gauge the scale of the influx.
This is a serious embarrassment to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which has tried to play down concerns that its estimates for the number of people entering the UK are badly flawed.
Although the office plans to improve its methods for tracking immigration, critics say the new way of counting migrants was equally problematic. The critics point out that, under the new calculations, the number entering London supposedly decreased by 60,000 between 2002 and 2005 - the most up-to-date records available - though most experts say they actually increased. Councils in and around the capital claim the rise in immigrants is placing greater pressure on services and is starting to have an impact on their finances.
Don't get the impression that any of these councils are actually concerned about social cohesion or nonsense like that. The problem is that they want more funding to service the needs of these migrants. Strange - I thought only the swivel-eyed brigade worried about the burden on public services.
'Our electoral register has gone up by 23,000 over the past few years yet they're saying it's gone down,' said Sir Robin Wales, mayor of Newham, east London. 'It's ludicrous. We've nothing against migration - it is great for the economy and great for Newham. However, it needs to be properly funded. We would be willing to pay for a census just to rectify these figures. It would cost us a lot of money, but these inaccurate figures are costing us even more.'
23,000 extra voters on the electoral register, eh ? Are they all entitled to vote ?
The ONS estimates that Slough has received 1,100 extra migrants since 2002. But the local council estimates that at least 10,000 Polish people alone have arrived to work in the town since 2004.
Critics say the office's figures are also at odds with those collated by the government. Migration figures released by the ONS earlier this month suggested that approximately 56,000 Poles entered the UK in 2005, although the Department for Work and Pensions has issued figures suggesting that over 170,000 Polish citizens applied for National Insurance numbers in the same year.
'The government's new figures suggest we have fewer migrants than three years ago,' said Councillor Mark Loveday, cabinet member for strategy at Hammersmith and Fulham council. National Insurance registrations by people from countries which recently joined the European Union 'are up by more than 550 per cent and that's before other migrants are counted'.