EU Free Movement of People And The UK's Housing Shortage

For many years, the United Kingdom has seen large-scale immigration from around the world with a particular emphasis on European Union migration. Under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty, people from the EU have an unfettered right to live and work in the UK; this also applies to UK citizens living in the EU, but for the last decade, the figures have been heavily balanced in favor of EU migrants.

There are an estimated 3 million migrants from the EU alone living in the UK, compared with around a million UK citizens spread among the other 27 EU nations. In 2015, the UK saw 588,000 people arrive to live on her shores (from the EU and the wider world), and emigration numbers of 339,000 which include British nationals going to other countries and returning migrants.

Over the last few years, the UK has handled a net migration figure of around 300,000 each year; and this has placed serious strain on the housing market, especially for younger people trying to get on the property ladder. Britain is in the midst of a housing crisis that successive governments have blamed on previous governments’ lack of house building and planning. But the reality is that no government has ever once acknowledged that an extra 300,000 people per year was a major contributing factor to the lack of affordable housing.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, made a speech in February this year in which he outlined the housing crisis and various factors he, and the government, believed were responsible. He took great pains to point out that this was not, in any way, attributable to high immigration figures. In a speech to the House of Commons, he stated that ‘two-thirds of housing demand has nothing to do with immigration’ and was down to natural population growth. But recent studies show that Javid’s position was “entirely false.”

The well-respected group Migration Watch recently published figures based on the government’s own “Household projections” and ONS Census survey data that show migration is the real cause of the housing crisis and that the Tory government (and Labour government before them) are misrepresenting the information.

Migration Watch states that the figures suggested by Mr. Javid “only accounts for the impact of future migration” and disregards migrants who are already in the country. When existing migrants are factored into the equation, data shows that over the last fifteen years, eight out of ten new homes have gone to migrants; and even more worryingly, that present numbers show around 90% of new households have a foreigner as the head of the household.

Just last week, Mr. Javid made another speech to the House of Commons in which he stated that the government had successfully overseen the creation of 217,000 new homes in the UK. He failed to mention that in reality, almost 200,000 of these homes would not go to British born people.

MW makes the point eloquently in their conclusion:

“In the summary of their 2014-based household projections the DCLG claim that ‘net migration accounts for 37 per cent of projected household growth’. However, this is thoroughly misleading since it only accounts for growth due to future migration, ignoring the impact of the migrant population already present in the country. In fact, the data on the past ten years shows that 90% of additional households in England have been headed by someone born abroad.”

The reality is that if the UK can successfully extricate itself from the European Union through Brexit, the Supply and Demand equation would balance itself out naturally. According to the government’s ONS figures, “In 2016, the total fertility rate (TFR) decreased to 1.81 children per woman, from 1.82 in 2015.” This means that each couple (migrant or otherwise) is replacing 2 with just 1.8; and therefore, if migration were reduced dramatically, there would, in fact, be an abundance of extra housing already available.

Much of the newly built housing in the UK falls into two categories: Social housing and affordable housing. Social housing includes properties that are provided by local councils to people and families that would otherwise struggle to afford either rent or a mortgage. They are essentially subsidized through taxation and welfare benefits. Affordable housing is property that is artificially priced to allow people on lower incomes to set up home; this is also paid for through taxpayer money.

But this system fails the British people and even the migrant community who have been in the UK for some time. They are paying taxes which fund housing of which 90% does not go themselves but to newly arrived foreigners, at the same time, limiting the ability of their own children to afford housing.

When the government is giving priority housing to “refugees” over its own homeless citizens, it is failing in its first duty to protect the well-being of the people who elected them. It is a gross unfairness for which the taxpayer is being asked to pay for through lies and omissions.

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