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How many houses?

December 11th, 2015

Letter to Daily Telegraph published on 9th December 2015

Lord Lexden (Dec 8th) calls on the Government “to build on a scale that the nation needs” with the implication that the current building rate of around 115,000 is insufficient for our needs. But which nation is Lord Lexden referring to?

The nation of resident British citizens has a natural increase of around 200,000 per year which corresponds to about 85,000 new houses per year. Allowing for replacement housing, 115,000 is clearly sufficient for British needs.

The much larger figures of 200-250,000 houses, continually referred to by planners and builders, are based on the National Statistical Office assumption that net immigration will continue indefinitely at more than a million every five years. (It was 336,000 in the year to the end of September.) Yet if Britain votes to leave the EU, which continued immigration on this scale makes all the more likely, this number will come whistling down. In any case, it is surely morally wrong to break into the precious English landscape with houses, roads, and pylons to accommodate literally millions of people from other countries which are much less densely populated than ours.