Nearly 13,000 Bulgarians and Romanians are expected to move to Britain when rules are relaxed, calculations published by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles have suggested.
But despite putting a raft of figures and formulas about the potential migration numbers on his own departmental website, the Tory Cabinet minister insisted he did not have "any confidence in them whatsoever". Instead, he claimed the Government actually had "no idea" about the possible influx when restrictions are lifted next year.
The Home Office has repeatedly said it has not produced forecasts and Downing Street has previously insisted it would not publish predictions.
But Mr Pickles said figures and calculations were put on his website in October 2011 and other documents would be published "in due course".
He told a Parliamentary Press Gallery Lunch: "There are figures in there, there are calculations, even at the back there's a proper mathematical calculation to look at it. This time, everyone is opening up at the same time. If you combine Romania and Bulgaria together, they don't even meet the level of the Polish population.
"Bulgarians have a kind of a link with Spain and with France, and no matter how many fancy calculations you can put down, no matter what assumptions you can make about the A2 as opposed to the A10, I don't know and that's what I said at the time.
"The truth is nobody really knows, so all the Government can do is to, just to be careful about the pull factors that might range from the health service, through housing, through benefits within the law to try and ensure there isn't an extra attraction to come here.
"But already there are people working in Lincolnshire and our crops being brought in (by people) that come from Romania and Bulgaria, and the truth is very few carrots would be picked without that help that is there."
The formula suggest 4,613 Bulgarians and 8,155 Romanians would head to the UK. Bulgaria and Romania joined the European Union in 2007 but under "transitional arrangements" workers from the two countries were prevented from travelling to the UK.
Minister for Local Government Brandon Lewis said: "This analysis was produced by the last administration and should be treated with extreme caution given how unreliable their statistics have been historically. This report, which has been on our website since October 2011, was covered up by a Labour Party that failed on immigration and then tried to bury the truth."
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-communities-and-local-government(Department for Communities and Local Government)