Over half proposed extra housing needed for new immigrants…

March 29, 2004

In an interview with The Observer on 21 March, The Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, indicated that the government plan to double the rate of house building in England.

He was responding to the Barker Report which recommends building an extra 120,000 new private sector homes in England each year to reduce the trend in real house prices to 1.1% per year.

The Barker report looked primarily at the supply of housing and how this could be made more sensitive to price. It did not explore whether some of the factors driving demand, and therefore price, could be managed. But even on the Government's latest, and very conservative, projection of 103,000 net immigration each year, more than 1.1 million homes will be required just for immigrants for the period 1996-2021.

For the past five years, however, net immigration has been running at an even higher average of 158,000 a year and this excludes illegal immigrants which the Home Secretary acknowledges is a large, if unknown number.

Migrationwatch UK believes that net immigration will continue at about the average of recent years. If this proves correct, total new households attributable to migration in the planning period 1996 - 2021 would be 1.75 million. This means that well over half the extra houses will be for new immigrants.

Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of MigrationwatchUK, said: 'By concentrating on the supply of housing the government are glossing over one of the main determinants of demand - namely immigration. Indeed, analysis of the government's most recent population projections shows that 85% of the increase in the UK's population up to 2031 will be due to immigration.

'They hope that people will see their policy of concreting over the South-East as a necessary response to the need for housing without realising that much of the need arises from the government's own immigration policies.

'The Barker report points out that England is a close second to the Netherlands as the most crowded country in Europe with 380 persons per sq. km. compared to 390 for The Netherlands. The South East region, including London has a density of 734 - again the second highest density in Europe,' he said.

'Part of the answer to the housing crisis must be to get a grip of immigration. Yet the government has been promoting immigration on a massive scale without a moment's thought about the implications for housing and therefore for the countryside. This, to say the least, is not joined up government.

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