Author: STEVE DOUGHTY SOCIAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT FOR THE DAILY MAIL
The number of people living in England will top 60million by 2029 unless immigration levels fall radically, an official assessment said yesterday.
The 60million figure is an increase of more than four million over the most recent estimates and indicates that Brexit turmoil and questions over future migration rules have yet to curb the growth in population.
The estimate was published by the Office for National Statistics, which said that in 2029 numbers in England will reach 60,207,000 if high migration levels continue .
Its projection is based on the assumption that net migration – the number of people added to the population each year after both immigration and emigration have been counted – will continue at 215,000.
The most recent recorded figure for current net migration – for the 12 months to September 2018 – was nearly a third higher at 283,000. Also in 2029, the population of London alone will pass 10million for the first time unless net migration drops below the 215,000 a year mark, the ONS said.
The population projections also account for birth and death rates and life expectancy, as well as movement within the country.
They show that population pressure will continue to be at its greatest in London and southern England, where there is deepening concern over high housing prices and rents, poor transport and road congestion, a shortage of school places, and supplies of power and water. The growing numbers of people will add to pollution from traffic fumes and other sources, and increase demand for building on countryside.
The ONS report said: ‘The populations of all regions of England are projected to grow by mid-2026; regions in the North of England are projected to grow at a slower rate than those in the South.’
It said that the population of England, put at 55,268,000 in 2016, would – under its ‘principal’ immigration projection – rise by 5.9 per cent to 58,506,000 by mid-2026. But the ‘principal’ figure used by the ONS is based on net migration of 152,000 a year, a level unknown since the 1990s.
Under the ‘high’ migration estimate, which uses the 215,000 a year figure, the 2026 England population would be 59,172,000, and by 2029 the figure would be 60,207,000. This would mean an increase of 8.9 per cent on 2016 levels.
Lord Green of Deddington, chief of the MigrationWatch think tank, said: ‘It is time that people realised just how rapidly our population is growing. The principal projection assumes that the level of international migration to England will be significantly lower than is currently the case – a scenario that is not likely. On the more realistic high migration scenario, England is projected to hit nearly 60 million by 2026.’
The ONS said areas of England likely to see percentage population increases of double figures or more by 2026 include Tower Hamlets, Barking, Hackney, Greenwich and Havering in London; Corby in the East Midlands; Aylesbury Vale and Dartford in the South East; Central Bedfordshire in the East of England; and Coventry in the West Midlands.