Immigration is helping to fuel a housing crisis in London and causing Londoners to leave the capital, according to a report to be published today.
MigrationWatch UK estimates that 500,000 homes will have to built in the capital over the next 15 years as the immigrant population is expected to increase by a million.
A report by the group, which campaigns for lower immigration, says that mass immigration is driving population growth in the capital, resulting in huge pressures on housing supply and “displacing” people from London.
Others might be leaving for cultural reasons which led them to be unhappy about the changing nature of their neighbourhoods, it says.
But research suggests that “white flight” is not the reason why people were leaving ethnically diverse areas of the capital, the report says.
“As the majority of those leaving London have been of white British ethnicity, researchers have examined whether ‘white flight’ is behind people leaving more ethnically diverse parts of London but had concluded that there is little evidence of attitudinal difference towards immigrants between those who leave London and those who stay,” the report says.
Researchers found that among all ethnic groups there was a preference for cultural similarity, which for non-whites largely meant moving within London, whereas for white British this meant changing districts in the capital or moving to other parts of Britain.
MigrationWatch UK said that official figures suggest the capital’s population is expected to grow from 8.5 million to 10 million in the next 15 years.
Sir Andrew Green, its chairman, said: “The general public have no idea of the extent to which immigration is driving the city’s housing crisis and causing Londoners to leave.”
He criticised Boris Johnson’s City Hall for being less than open about the extent to which immigration is fuelling the demand for housing, adding: “The business lobby seem to have a loft 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, hospitals and, especially, on housing. London needs skilled migration, not mass migration.”
London’s UK-born population has remained at 5.2 million for the past 20 years, but the number of those born abroad has doubled to three million, MigrationWatch said.
Most births in the capital are to foreign-born parents, with only a third of births in 2012 to parents who were both born in the UK.
The impact on capital’s rapid population rise is seen in council waiting lists, which more than doubled between 2000 and 2012 to around 380,000 households, the report says.
Private rental prices have also been driven up by the rising population. The median rent for a three-bedroom flat in London is now about £1,650 a month. High rents make it much more difficult for people to save a deposit to buy their own property.
How about that? Supply and demand. I have never studied Economics but I know about that!