Memorandum by Migration Watch UK (AH 90)
1. Housing policy can no longer be considered
in isolation from immigration policy. Immigration now accounts
for 83% of our projected population increase. The current and
projected rates of international migration are likely to account
for about a third of new household formation or 66,000 each year.
There is a close correlation between the number of households
and the number of separate dwellings.
2. 75% of net international migration is
to London and the South-East of England. These regions(and also
the Eastern and South-Eastern Regions which are particularly affected
by internal migration from London) are projected to generate two-thirds
of the total of new households being formed in England over the
coming decades. The same regions are under considerable pressure
in terms of the affordability of housing, pressure on infrastructure
and, certainly in the case of London and the South-East, congestion.
3. Net immigration to the UK reached a record
223,000 people in 2004. The government's long-term projection
for net immigration, on which we have based our estimate of 66,000
households being formed each year, is 145,000 per annum. this
is similar to the actual average level of net immigration from
4. Immigration is thus a major contributory
factor to the shortage of supply of housing and it will also play
a major part in generating demand for housing in the future. A
policy which attempted to more closely align the levels of immigration
and emigration would ease the demand for housing and lead to more
sustainable requirements for building new housing stock.
5. Migration Watch UK wish to draw to the
attention of the Committee the impact of immigration on housing.
Immigration makes a considerable impact on the rate of household
formation and therefore on the demand for housing which in turn
impacts on affordability and the need to increase housing supply.
6. The last set of household projections,
produced by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in September
2004, showed that 189,000 additional households were expected
to form on average each year between 2001 and 2021. Immigration,
at a projected level of 130,000 net immigrants per year, was expected
to account for 59,000 (nearly a third) of these households each
Although households do not equate exactly to homes there is a
close correlation between the two.
7. A recent paper from the Town and Country
Planning Association suggested that a household formation figure
of 40,000 per year resulting from immigration was a more likely
scenario. This was based on household sizes being larger for recent
immigrants. It will undoubtedly be the case that many new immigrants
may add to existing households and/or many adults may share a
household. However, this is likely to be a transient situation.
Data from the 2001 census shows that the number of adults of working
age per household is similar for white British and for other ethnic
groups (see Appendix 1). Over a 20 year period the original calculations
of a net immigration rate of 130,000 a year giving rise to 59,000
households a year is therefore likely to hold good.
8. Furthermore, since the household projections
were published in 2004, the Government Actuary's Dept. working
in coordination with the Office for National Statistics, has increased
its long-term trend estimate of net migration from 130,000 to
145,000 per year. On a strictly pro-rata basis this would suggest
that about 66,000 households would form on average each year as
a result of immigration.
9. Indeed immigration over the past few
years will already have generated a considerable demand for housing.
Until recently housing plans were based on 1996-based population
projections which assumed a net migration rate of 65,000 pa A
variation of +40,000 pa in the rate of net migration was expected
to add an average of about 18,000 households each year. In fact
net migration over the period 1996-2004 inclusive has averaged
a year which would suggest the formation of an average of 33,000
households above the government's original plans.
10. 75% of net international migration to
the UK is to London and the South-East. These regions (and also
the Eastern and South-West Regions because of the effect of internal
migration from London) are those which face the greatest increases
in households (two-thirds of new households will be formed in
11. We conclude therefore that immigration
has been having, and will continue to have, a major impact on
the demand for new housing with about one new home in three being
needed to cater for new immigrants to the UK. It would therefore
be sensible, in our view, to look at ways of curbing demand by
reducing the flow of inward migration rather than considering
only how we can increase the supply of housing with the serious
impact this will have on our infrastructure and environment.
187 Hansard-Lords Written Answer HL102 8 December
Source: ONS-International Migration Volume MN30 table 2.8 and
ONS News Release 4 November 2004. Figures for England alone are
only available up to 1993 but international migration levels are
similar to those for the UK as a whole. Back
Source: ODPM-household projections for England published in
September 2004. Back