Social Housing: Rebuttal

August 22, 2011 have not published Migrationwatch’s rebuttal on the £1bn cost of social housing as promised so we are publishing it on our own web site.

Full Fact have challenged the Migrationwatch calculation that tax payers face a £1 billion annual bill for the next 25 years to provide enough council houses for future immigrants.

They base their argument on the numbers of foreign nationals currently occupying social housing. However, they seem to have misunderstood the basis of the Migrationwatch calculation which is not a question of existing percentages but of future projections of migrant households.

This calculation is set out in paragraphs 15 -18 of Briefing Paper No 7.12.  In brief, the additional housing required by immigrants will be 83,000 homes per year or just over 2 million over the period.  (This is the difference between the principal projection and the zero net migration projection).  According to the Migration Advisory Committee, which based its findings on the Government’s Labour Force Survey, 22% of non-EEA born migrants who have been in the UK for at least 5 years are in social housing.  (See footnote 2 in the paper). Although born outside the UK, some of these will no longer be ‘foreign nationals’ because they will have acquired British citizenship.   We took 20% which comes to about 415,000 over the period or 45 a day.

As regards costs, current government spending averages £60,000 on each social housing unit.  This gives £25 billion over 25 years or “£1 billion a year” on average.

The proportion of houses currently occupied by foreign nationals is a different matter for which there is a range of numbers.  The continuous recording of lettings (CORE) in Table 754 of the Local Authority Housing Statistics gives 6.1% for 2009/10, as Full Fact say.  However, the English Housing Survey which takes a 2 year average of 2008/9 and 2009/10 gives 9.5% non-British social renters.  The figure of 8.3% in paragraph 3 of the paper referred to the previous year's figures as this part of the paper was completed before the latest English housing Survey was published. 

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