Britain needs 156,000 homes annually to manage influx of immigrants

According to the ONS, immigration would push Britain’s population to 70 million in 2026.

Migrants are brought ashore after being picked up in the English Channel by a Border Force vessel on November 16, 2023 in Dover, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Pramod Thomas

PRIME MINISTER Rishi Sunak is under pressure to cut immigration as new figures indicate Britain must construct 156,000 homes annually to accommodate influx, reported The Times.

The figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) predict that net migration will add an additional 6.1 million people to the UK population by 2036.

The country’s population could surpass 70 million by 2026 driven by both immigration and natural growth. The ONS projections also prompt concerns about an earlier than expected milestone, a decade sooner than previously anticipated.

The Centre for Policy Studies warns that this surge in population will necessitate the construction of 5.7 million homes from 2021 to 2036. Approximately 41 per cent of this demand, roughly 2.3 million homes, is attributed to net migration. This exceeds the government’s target of 300,000 homes annually, requiring an average of 382,000 homes yearly, a 60 per cent increase over the current rate.

Former immigration minister, Robert Jenrick, who has been highly critical of the prime minister, said the numbers projected by the ONS threatened the unity of the country.

“ONS forecast that 92per cent of our population growth (2021-36) will come from immigration. That’s not how you create a united country. From 2028 they forecast net migration at 315,000. This will only deepen the housing crisis. There is no democratic consent for this outcome,” he wrote on X.

In response to the mounting crisis, the government has unveiled measures to reduce immigration by 300,000 annually. These include a ban on foreign care workers bringing relatives and an increase in the minimum salary threshold for skilled worker visas.

However, these measures have sparked internal dissent within the Tory party. Former home secretary Suella Braverman has insisted on an overall cap on immigration, emphasising the strain on schools, the NHS, and housing.

Several Tory MPs, particularly those in Red Wall seats, express frustration at the government’s perceived inaction. Stoke-on-Trent North MP Jonathan Gullis highlights the intolerable pressures on public services resulting from rapid population growth, demanding urgent steps to reduce both legal and illegal migration.

Former health minister Neil O’Brien argues that the economic rationale for mass low-wage migration has collapsed, demanding a radical shift in policy.

Karl Williams, research director at the Centre for Policy Studies, emphasises the longstanding failure of successive governments to address immigration and housing challenges, urging comprehensive action to bridge the housing deficit and bring down migration levels.