'No limits' immigration policy worsens housing shortfall


June 19, 2006

The Government’s failure to face up to the consequences of the huge rise in immigration which they have stimulated since 1997 is the principal cause of the current housing shortfall says a new report out today.

Because the scale of the increase in immigration has not, until very recently, been factored into the house building programme it has exacerbated housing shortages and created serious issues of affordability that may well continue for years, says the report from think-tank Migrationwatch.

‘It is yet another example of the practical consequences that flow from the Government’s reckless ‘no limits’ immigration policy and is a major contributory factor to the need to build huge numbers of new homes across the South of England,’ said Sir Andrew Green, Migrationwatch chairman.

The report demonstrates that the housing shortfall in recent years has been entirely the result of immigration. Net immigration is a relatively new phenomenon. There was a net outflow until the mid 1980s. Thereafter, net immigration was only about 50,000 a year. The fact that it has nearly trebled since 1997 accounts for the overall shortfall in housing.

This situation has been exacerbated by the Government’s failure to make proper allowance in their housing plans for the immigration which they have stimulated.

The analysis, based on the Government’s own figures, demonstrates that the Government's household projections[1] were based on the false assumption that net immigration would be about 65,000 a year. In fact, net international migration in the period from 1996 to 2004 has averaged 140,000 a year. Over these eight years the housing stock has fallen short of household formation by about 370,000 thus adding to pressure on prices and affordability. 260,000 (70%) of this shortfall resulted from the fact that immigration was much higher than the government had assumed.

‘This is the first study of the impact of immigration on housing demand and it shows yet another dramatic failure of immigration policy,’ said Sir Andrew.

‘Our report clearly demonstrates that the highest levels of immigration in our history have been deliberately encouraged without proper consideration of its consequences. We have failed to build the houses that we need to keep pace with immigration and, looking ahead, we shall have to build about 1½ million extra houses in the next two decades simply in order to house the immigration now officially expected. Incompetence on such a scale is hard to believe,’ he said.

[1] More than 99% of dwellings are occupied by a single household so the household projections are a direct estimate of the number of new dwellings required.



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