We’ve all met them, haven’t we?
Those that want to open the borders of the UK to all without a thought as to where they’ll all live.
I’ve even talked to people who demand uncontrolled immigration but in the same breath declare that we shouldn’t build any more houses and roads etc for fear of ruining the environment – especially the environment in their own backyard!
And when you ask where all these people that could come in to the country are going to live, I am always amazed by the usual blank look or claims that I am somehow a racist for asking the question. It goes without saying that no coherent response is ever forthcoming from them.
The truth is that the UK population is growing and growing fast, far outpacing house building.
Between 1960 and 1997 before Tony Blairs ‘New Labour’ came to power, the population increased by about 160,000 on average every year. Since 1997 that average has more than doubled to become 379,000.
And it’s no coincidence that since 1997 net immigration, which used to average about 10,000 year, has punched through the 100,000 level to reach about 300,000 a year!
Now someone try and tell me the two are not connected.
This means that, largely driven by net immigration, an extra population more than the size of Coventry, the twelfth largest city in the UK, has to be accommodated every single year. And it’s not just the houses. Think roads, waterworks, power stations, schools, hospitals, etc etc etc.
But let’s stick to housing and use Coventry as an example. According to Coventry City Council there are 345,400 people in the City, occupying 138,390 dwellings. That’s just about 2.5 people per house.
So, just to house the population increase of 379,000 a year. means building 151,600 new houses every year – or one house every three and a half minutes.
That does not take into account replacing old buildings or those that need to be knocked down, as well as houses that have to be built where employment now exists. There is a significant stock of empty houses but these are generally in poor condition or are not where they are actually needed, or they are empty for refurbishment or in probate.
Taking all of this into account, the Conservatives placed a target of 200,000 new properties to be built every year in the five years to 2020. But a House of Lords report in 2016 stated that:
“To address the housing crisis at least 300,000 new homes are needed annually for the foreseeable future. One million homes by 2020 will not be enough.”
But that 300,000 refers to England only, not the whole UK – and also note that the word ‘crisis’ is used.
So, how many properties have we been building?
in 2014 there were 118,760 housing completions, in 2015 that rose to 142,890 and in 2016 it was 140,660.
These numbers do not meet the previous government’s aspirations and are short of even half of what the House of Lords recommends.
Is it therefore any wonder that the forces of supply and demand have pushed house prices up so high that home ownership has become an unattainable dream for so many? And that renting costs eat so much of peoples’ incomes?
So I ask the question of those that see untrammelled immigration as the way forward for the UK – where are they all going to live? And why can’t they see that it places an increasing burden on our ability to house people to the point that it has become a crisis?
But don’t blame the immigrants for wanting to come to our wonderful country (it must be a wonderful country or else why do they want to come) blame successive governments for failing to limit immigration in the first place.