Government 'hiding' immigration impact on housing growth


March 26, 2006

The Government has been accused of deliberately hiding the impact of immigration on the country’s future housing needs.

The recent Household Projection report (March 14) did not even mention immigration as being a factor in the requirement to build the 4.8m new houses which it said were needed in Britain between 2003 and 2026.

But, says a detailed analysis of the figures out today, immigration is in fact the largest single primary factor requiring 65,000 houses to be built each year – equivalent to a city the size of Peterborough every 12 months. That amounts to 1.5 million over the period 2003 – 2026, or very nearly a third of the total new households.

Think-tank Migrationwatch has found that if immigration and emigration were roughly in balance it would eliminate the need for the government’s massive proposed increase in the housing programme and would greatly alleviate the need for ‘concreting over the South East’ and the huge pressure on the environment that will result. (Read report).

‘As usual the issue of immigration was swept under the carpet and the ‘spin’ put on the story was that it was the growth of one person households that was the principal cause of the housing requirement, giving the impression that this is caused simply by social trends’ said Sir Andrew Green, Migrationwatch chairman.

‘In fact our analysis shows that this is thoroughly misleading. In order of size immigration is the single largest primary contributor - accounting for 32% of the increase; more adults accounted for 28% of the rise and in third place was more single households (arising from changing social trends) accounting for 21% Migration was simply not mentioned in the document from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister as a reason for the growth in households.’

Without it there would be no requirement for the recent massive increase in the government’s house building target and very little need to build on green field sites at all.

Sir Andrew said the massive house building programme would affect every community in the country and it was therefore important to understand why (and whether) it was necessary.

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