During last night’s ITV debate Nigel Farage claimed that we would have to build a home every four minutes, night and day in order to house new migrants and their families.
On the ITV Ten O’Clock News that followed, Allegra Stratton, the Political Editor challenged Mr Farage’s figures, and said that the correct figure was in fact a home every six or seven minutes.
Ms Stratton was no doubt basing her calculation on the ONS Principal Population Projections which forecast that net migration will continue at 185,000 a year. With average UK household size at 2.3 this would mean that an additional 80,400 homes would be needed a year for new migrants, or 220 a day, or one every six and a half minutes. Hence Ms Stratton’s claim that a new home would need to be built every six or seven minutes.
However, net migration is currently running at a third of a million, some 40% higher. If we take a cautious estimate that net migration will continue at 310,000 a year then we will need to build 135,000 new homes each year to cope with new migrants and their families. This is 370 per day or one every four minutes. (See Migration Watch briefing paper here).
There is very little to suggest that net migration will fall by 40% in the near future, certainly not if we remain a member of the EU. Therefore in discussing the implications of present levels of immigration it is more appropriate to look at what is happening, rather than what could happen if there was a fall, which seems unlikely.