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With Mass EU Migration We Will Never Solve the Housing Crisis

10/04/2016 20:54

It all seemed so easy for our parents. They left school or college, entered the work place, bought their first home quite easily in their mid-twenties, or rented cheaply, and gradually climbed the ladder decade on decade.

Compare that with how difficult it is today for young people now to do the same. We are failing a whole generation.

There are of course many factors driving our housing crisis. In trying to solve it for this generation and the next, we must reform our failing planning policy and promote private and public sector cooperation at the local level. We must build more homes at greater density and with added innovation.

But to close the gap and increase supply relative to demand, we must also control our borders. With a net one-third of a million new people coming into our country each year, we will always be on the back foot when it comes to proving the homes that we need if we do not bring demand under control.

House prices and rents are set by the forces of the market. Supply is controlled by a number of factors, one of the most significant being stock - the accumulated 26million households the UK has built up since year dot plus the approximately 166,000 new ones we currently build each year.

During the 20th century, a stable population meant supply and demand tended to be in the balance. We had enough stock to cater for the number of people needing housing. Most young people could 'get on the ladder'.

This suddenly changed from 1998. Up to that point net migration was close to zero. Since then, mass migration has resulted in a sharp and dramatic rise in our population. The unfettered access to the UK for any EU citizen - all 508 million of them - is now a significant driver of the UK's spiralling housing demand. Supply cannot keep up.

As many EU countries fell into sustained recession towards the end of the last decade, burdened with a failing Euro currency, living in the UK became very attractive indeed. According to the University of Oxford's Migration Observatory, the EU born population in the UK stood at over three million in March 2015. What's more, National Insurance data shows even three million could be a significant underestimate.

With the equivalent of more than three cities the size Birmingham arriving from the EU alone - the impact on rents and house prices has been profound.

One does not need a degree in economics to understand the effect that increased demand has had. The average house price has now passed £300,000 for the first time. In London, where the impacts of migration have been most profound, the situation is even more serious. The average property in the capital sells for £416,163, up 16.8% on last year. Who starting out in adult life can afford £300,000, let alone £416,000?

This referendum is the most important vote we will have in a generation. It is about securing a prosperous future for Britain. It's about controlling our borders, spending our money on our priorities and making our laws in our country.

And it's about the positive impact that taking back control in all three of these areas will have on our day to day lives, on our standard of living and on creating the type of country we want to leave for our children and grandchildren.

Managing our own borders so we can control the number of people entering the country is fundamental to securing that prosperous future. It is a fundamental element to answering the key economic challenges our country faces - not least, housing.

We just won't be able to provide the homes we need if net migration continues to run at its current levels. The only way we can control our borders is if a majority of Brits back Brexit on 23 June.

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