'We must act now to cut immigrant numbers'
Commentary by Sir Andrew Green,
Chairman, Migration Watch UK,
The Daily Telegraph on 24 October, 2007
These population projections
mark a turning point in the national dialogue. The public have at last become aware of the enormous impact of present levels of immigration on the future of our society.
Official figures now indicate that England's population will increase by nearly 16 million by mid century - that is twice the population of Greater London.
This increase will be 90 per cent due to immigration. These numbers are, frankly, alarming. Our schools and hospitals are already struggling and we have a major housing crisis. The new projections imply that we will have to build 260 houses every day of the week for the next 20 years just to house new immigrants.
Put another way, of Gordon Brown's much vaunted 3 million new houses by 2020, one and a quarter million will be needed for new immigrants.
It is not only a matter of bricks and mortar.
The very glue of our society is being weakened under the impact of rapidly growing communities of very diverse cultures - some of whom have little intention of integrating with us.
The latest report of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) warned that "segregation - residentially, socially and in the workplace - is growing."
It went on to warn that our society is "fracturing" and that "bonds of solidarity across different groups have reduced and tensions between people have increased."
How can a society already in such difficulties possibly absorb newcomers on the scale now projected? Hard as it is to believe, we have stumbled into this situation.
It was completely unplanned - indeed, hardly discussed for fear of accusations of racism. It is, without doubt, the result of the government losing control of our borders.
They like to point to globalisation as the cause but, in fact, the numbers started to take off in 1997 with a rocket propelled boost in 2004 when, almost alone in the European Union, the government opened our labour market to the new members.
They have since tried to camouflage their mistakes by claiming that all this is good for our economy.
The truth is that it is good for some employers, particularly in marginal industries, but we cannot allow immigration policy to be driven by employers for their own financial benefit. All the more so as the effects are very uneven.
It is low paid British workers whose wages are held down by competition from the new arrivals.
Overall, immigration may add £6 billion to production as the government claim, but it adds a similar proportion to our population.
As a result, the benefit to the native British population is trivial.
What can be done? We have no choice but to cut back the numbers very sharply.
This requires a clear political commitment as a first step with policies built around it.
The Conservatives have taken this step. So far, the government have ducked this critical decision.
Instead, they have formed a couple of committees.
That falls far short of the decisive action that is required if we are to avoid very serious difficulties in our society.
© Copyright of Sir Andrew Green