Tuesday, 1 April 2008

UK Population to be 65m by 2016

Further thought on an earlier topic.

When I was born, in 196...ahem, cough, the UK population was 54.3 million souls.

Today it is somewhere over 60.7m.

According to the ONS it will be 65m in less than 8 years, 71m by 2031.

In the space of 50 years we will have crammed nearly 11 million more people into this green and pleasant land. (At least deodorant retailers can expect a boom.)

How will we feed them?
How will we house them?
How will we employ them?

The birth rate exceeds the death rate by nearly 6% per year. Net immigration continues to rise. We are all living longer lives.

Last I looked the country wasn't getting any bigger. Wondered why your kids can't afford a house? Heard of supply and demand?

When do we start to concrete over Dartmoor, the Highlands, the Fens?

There are some more unsavoury truths to consider again. The immigration debate is a hot one right now and you can make up your own mind on who should or shouldn't come into the country. I am left wondering, though, whether our political masters had a scintilla of foresight when they signed up to the open-border with Europe.

Think, what is the most popular language in the world? It's Mandarin. But if you are a non-English speaker learning a second language, by far the most likely tongue you will choose is English. It's the lingua franca of the commercial, scientific and arts world. And with your new language, with the opportunities in all these fields that it can bring you, where are you going to go? With any sense it's the States or Australia. But you might just choose Blighty, if you don't mind the weather. And millions have.

About now you might be inclined to withdraw from reading this, suspecting I have politically incorrect leanings. You'd be mistaken though, and you'll have to trust me on this. I seek only to present facts, and I credit myself with the intellect to reject racism as the vile slur on civilisation that it is.

The demographics of our nation, shifting so swiftly and significantly as they are, concern me.

The debate about just how many people our 94,000 square miles can accomodate has to start, and the squeamishness of our representatives to address the hard facts must be overcome. The UK is getting smaller, and issues of population growth need to be talked about. We leave it too late at our peril.

(Data: Office of National Statistics; CIA)


steadyneddy said...

Surely the most simple solution is curtail immigration and impose a China-like birthing limit on the existing population?

MrVeg said...

Immigration is a problem in terms of the numbers of people coming into the country compared to the (smaller) number leaving. Of course the government will have you believe that those immigrants are helping to boost our economy - building our house, fixing our plumbing, working in our fields. Generally taking the jobs which indiginous people are either unwilling or unskilled to do. How much more sense would it make to train our youngsters to do these jobs, and to 'disincentivise' (is that a real word?) the laggards who would rather sit on the dole than work an honest day. Cut the benefits and see how many employers need to bring in migrant workers to fill the vacancies.

The birthing limit is a real contentious one, as I blogged. Imposing such a law in totalitarian China is one thing, but in the towns and villages of Blighty? There would be riots in the Womens' Institute! Like climate change and smelly underpants, for some radical change will only come when it's almost too late. I suspect society-imposed, nationwide birth control will come but only when we are all living on each other's doorsteps. We have to hurt to learn, unfortunately. Me, I can't see any reason why anyone would want to have a family of more than 2-3 kids. I'm left feeling that the parent of bigger families are selfish and failing to consider what they are imposing on their offspring.

The demographics argument cuts both ways of course, and this is the reason government if not actively encouraging immigration, are at pains not to discourage it. As we all get older and remain healthy longer, the burden on the taxpayer to feed and house the retired populace simply grows. Remember, it's today's taxpayer that pays the pensions. So the government needs continual economic growth to sustain the tax revenues needed to foot these bills. Cheap migrant labour helps keep grandad in cold weather payments. For now.