200 new homes a day needed to house new immigrants

March 29, 2007

At least 200 new homes will be required every day of the year for the next nineteen years to house England's rapidly growing immigrant population. Government projections just published, and analysed by think-tank Migrationwatch, show that a third of all new households in England will be the result of record immigration levels. This means that 73,000 new homes will be needed every 12 months - or 200 a day. (see full report). In the very short term the impact is reduced by the fact that some immigrants are in multi-occupation but Migrationwatch research shows that any such effect is short lived. The Treasury use a higher immigration forecast to determine the nation’s long-term trend economic growth rate; if their assumption is used the number of houses required rises to 250 per day. ‘These figures illustrate the enormous impact that current levels of immigration are having on one of the most fundamental aspects of life,’ said Sir Andrew Green, Migrationwatch chairman. ‘We are already the second most densely populated country in Europe. This massive immigration puts yet more burdens on an already stressed infrastructure and diminishes the quality of life for everyone, particularly in the South East of England. ‘Indeed a recent report from the Environment Agency quoted in the Guardian (March 19) says "Accelerated development in the south and east of England will stretch the capability of some infrastructure to cope." They say that the hidden cost of the Government plans to build 1.5m new homes in the South East is some £20bn. The Migrationwatch report recognises that there are other important factors such as the growth in single households but says that immigration is the only factor which the government can directly influence. The report points out that, if migration to and from England were brought into balance, the need identified in the recent Barker report to build an additional 50,000 houses a year in England would be largely removed. Furthermore, much of the planned building on greenfield sites would be rendered unnecessary because a much greater proportion of new housing could be built on brownfield sites. The group’s report also shows that immigration has had a significant impact on house prices. The annual rate of increase in the housing stock in England in the period 2000 to 2005 has been close to the household formation rates projected in 2000. So housing plans based on the 2000 projections would have been almost enough to meet demand had it not been for the massive increase in immigration in subsequent years. In fact, net migration rates in this period have been about 85,000 a year more than the rates used in those projections. This will have resulted in household formation rates exceeding additions to housing stock by 40-45,000 a year, thus adding to the pressure on house prices. ‘There could hardly be a better example of the failure of joined up government. Immigration has been massively expanded with no comparable increase in housing provision. The economic benefit to the host population is, at best, marginal. But the cost to our quality of life is very considerable,’ said Sir Andrew.

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