Potential impact of immigration on England

09 June 2016
Recent figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the population in England is expected to grow by four million due to increased immigration. Chris Grayling, the Eurosceptic Leader of the Commons, stated that this would likely “change the face of England forever.”
Regions in southern England are planning ahead for the proliferation of public services, as the population is likely to expand by up to a quarter. Campaigners for stricter regulations on immigration have said that the additional demand for housing will erode areas of green belt land and will require a dramatic expansion of current transport systems.
The number of people living in England has been estimated to rise by 4.1 million, which is an increase of 7.5 per cent. This would mean that by 2039 the population of England would be on track to reach 63.3 million - surpassing population figures for the whole of the UK captured during the last census. ONS statistician, Suzie Dunsmith, said: “All regions of England are projected to see an increase in their population size over the next decade, with London, the East of England and South East projected to grow faster than the country as a whole.”
According to the projections, London will become one of the world’s foremost megacities, surpassing the 10-million mark between 2017 and 2018. A number of areas in London and its surrounding boroughs are due to see the most of this increase. Tower Hamlets in east London is likely to see a population increase of 25.1 per cent, while the boroughs of Newham, Barking and Dagenham and Camden could grow by almost a fifth. However, if the projections were to come true, then areas in northern England would in fact see their populations decrease. For example, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, is projected to undergo a 4.3 per cent drop in its population by 2024.
Vice chairman of the campaign group Migration Watch UK, Alp Mehmet, said: “The country is already facing a housing crisis and there is huge pressure on GP services.” He went on to say that the availability of primary school places was also being impacted. Additionally, an increasingly aging population is affecting the debate on immigration. The number of those over 65 is set to increase by over 20 per cent, making this the fastest-growing age group in all regions of England.
However, the ONS did point out that immigration was also a vital factor in facilitating natural change. It explained: “For example, women who were born overseas but who give birth after migrating to England will increase the numbers of births, while the numbers will be decreased by women born in England but who migrate overseas before giving birth.”
The recent figures released by the ONS are the last immigration tally before the EU referendum in June. Brexit campaigners are likely to use these figures to further argue that David Cameron is clearly unable to meet his goal to reduce net migration to "tens of thousands.”


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