Immigration increase raises housing demand by m

October 12, 2004

Future demand for housing in the UK is likely to be nearly 750,000 more than Government plans as the rapid increase in immigration is set to raise the population to record levels.

When the last Government forecast of housing need was published in 2000 based on 1996 population projections they showed the number of households increasing by 19% to 24million.

But, says a report out today from think tank Migrationwatch this was based on a net migration rate of 65,000 a year. The actual rate so far has been double that.

As a result, figures issued by the Government Actuary a few days ago, and analysed by the group, show that the assumption for migration has had to be raised to 130,000 per year double the assumption made in the household projections.

This is far more significant than it looks, said Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch UK.Current housing plans allow for three-quarters of a million houses for immigrants. It is now clear that twice that number will be needed. This total of one and a half million houses needed for immigrants amounts to about one third of the total number of new homes required in the planning period up to 2021, he said.

But in addition Migrationwatch believe that the population projections themselves make very conservative assumptions about migration. In the last five years immigration has, in fact, averaged 158,000 nearly 30,000 more than the official projections which will inevitably lead to even further demand for housing, if continued at this level. None of these numbers takes any account of illegal immigrants who, on the governments own admission, run into hundreds of thousands.

The present government have triggered large-scale immigration on the basis of dubious economic arguments and without thinking through the consequences for housing, public services and the environment, said Sir Andrew.

This is not about dry statistics; it directly impacts on the quality of life of everyone in the country and on our environment. England is already the second most crowded country in Europe and, since much of the new development is expected to be in the South East, it will have a major impact on congestion in this region.

Given these realities, it is no surprise that today's conference on Diversity and Prosperity, at which the Minister for Immigration will be giving a keynote address, puts housing at the very bottom of the agenda. It should be at the top, he said.

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