Today, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson made a speech about investment in the future of London. He pointed to the ‘demographic explosion’ now occurring and the resulting huge shortage of both homes and school places but he made no reference to the impact of immigration. He seemed to regard the population increase as entirely welcome, something that many Londoner’s would question. A few weeks back, in the Evening Standard, he referred to the capital’s population rise but said it was not “principally a function of immigration, as it happens, but of the simple rate of live births against deaths.” This is absolutely false.
Between 2001 and 2011, the UK-born population in London actually declined by about 50,000, while theforeign born population of London increased by over one million. The entire growth of the London population over that decade can be accounted for the by increase in the number of residents born outside the UK. In addition, only one third of children born in London in 2011 were to parents who were both British born, while 44% were to parents who were both foreign born (the other 23% had one foreign born parent).
Of course, London is a global city and migrants are bound to be a part of its growth. But it is not a case of unlimited immigration or none at all, the scale and pace of immigration are the keys as to whether the city’s expansion can be managed successfully
The Mayor’s attitude seems to that the city just has to cope with whoever turns up. That is clearly absurd when the city’s housing transport and education services are already struggling and when the public are very strongly opposed to the mass immigration that was allowed to occur under Labour. The government has a very sensible policy of bringing net migration down from more than a quarter of a million a year to the tens of thousands. It would be nice to hear some common sense from the Mayor on this issue and some recognition for the strength of public concern about massive levels of immigration.
Instead, the Mayor brushes all this aside and proposes to deal with mass migration by simply building more schools and houses, putting more buses on the roads, extending the Tube and training more teachers (who's going to pay for all this?). This is completely inadequate for the head of the world's greatest city.