The social impact of immigration


March 21, 2005

The recent surge in immigration is accelerating change in the nature of communities, particularly in London and some Northern cities. This is revealed in figures issued by the Office of National Statistics and analysed by think-tank Migrationwatch. (Read report)

The statistics show that of the 621,000 births in the whole of the United Kingdom in 2003, nearly one in five (18.6%) were to mothers who were born outside the UK. Nearly half (47%) of the children born in Greater London were born to mothers born abroad.

For inner London the overall figure is 55% but in the London Boroughs of Newham, Tower Hamlets and Westminster this figure rose to 68%. For Outer London as a whole the figure is 41% - but in Brent the figure
was 65%.

Manchester, Bradford, Leicester, Birmingham, Cambridge, Forest Heath (Suffolk), Slough and Oxford recorded more than 30% of births to foreign-born mothers.

The very high proportion of births to foreign-born mothers in some English cities together with the outflow of city dwellers to the regions (see Migrationwatch report: “The effect of Immigration on the Regions”) explains the very rapid changes taking place in parts of our cities. It again raises the question of how satisfactory integration can be achieved in areas where British culture itself is already diminishing.

In the 10 years from 1993 to 2002 there was a net inflow of about 1.65 million foreign-born people to the UK and a net outflow of over 600,000 UK-born people. The majority of the resulting net increase in population through migration is in the younger age groups.

The high-levels of migration, and the young age profile of immigrants, are the main factors behind population growth in the UK. The latest release of ‘Population Trends’ from the ONS confirms that the population is expected to rise by 6.1 million by 2031. Of this, nearly 5.2 million (84%) will be attributable to net migration.

‘These changes are taking place without adequate debate - or consideration of the social, economic and cultural issues that such rapid change is bound to create,’ said Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch. ‘As opinion polls repeatedly tell us there is widespread concern at the rapid increase in immigration into the UK since 1997. Nearly 80% of the people in Britain, including 55% of the ethnic minority communities, want to see much tighter immigration controls. Yet the government makes no serious attempt to explain what purpose is served by immigration on this completely unprecedented scale,’ said Sir Andrew. The Government’s own Cohesion Panel reported in July 2004; “The pace of change (for a variety of reasons) is simply too great in some areas at present” - but the government has failed to respond. Indeed, the Home Secretary continues to say that there should be no limit.’

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