London will have to build 42,000 new homes a year to deal with a massive influx of immigrants, a new report has warned.
The study by MigrationWatch UK says that even that figure may not be enough if a million Londoners do not also leave the city every year, and also accuses London Mayor Boris Johnson of “entirely misrepresenting” the reason for the capital’s population growth.
The report says that it is not right to say that London’s population is growing primarily because of its youthful make-up, with Sir Andrew Green, chairman of MigrationWatch saying: “That is sheer nonsense. London’s huge population increase in the last two decades has been driven solely by immigration and the same will apply to the next 15 years.”
Between 1991 and 2011, the UK-born population of the capital remained static at 5.2 million, while the foreign-born population doubled from 1.5 million to 3 million.
This is predicted to put ever-increasing pressure on the capital’s housing stock, with waiting lists for social housing having doubled, the number of private rental households also doubling and house prices having risen twice as fast as wages.
This has happened despite a large number of Londoners moving away from the city to other parts of the UK each year, with an average net loss of 680,000 London residents per year to elsewhere in Britain.
Meanwhile, in the next 1.1 million immigrants are predicted to come to London within the next 15 years, meaning that immigration will remain the biggest driver of population growth. However, the overall figure could be even bigger as official statistics do not take account of illegal immigration.
Sir Andrew Green said: “City Hall has been less than frank about what is going on. The general public have no idea of the extent to which immigration is driving the city’s housing crisis and causing Londoners to leave.
“The business lobby seem to have a lofty disregard for the lives of ordinary Londoners. It is ludicrous for them to suggest that London needs immigrants on anything like the present scale.
“The inevitable effect is massive pressure on schools and hospitals and, especially, on housing. London needs skilled migration, not mass migration.”