Richard Ford in The Times 26th June reports: Immigrants push population to 64.5m. But we need them to “care” because we don’t have enough carers, doctors and nurses. We are rationing health and social care covertly at present, and once we combine it will be impossible to justify “there is no rationing” from a politician’s perspective. I asked a friend this week if he believed in rationing, and the answer was no from his perspective as the patient’s advocate, but yes if he was asked for his opinion as a potential politician. This dissonance is understandable but not sustainable..
Rising immigration helped to push up the UK’s population by almost half a million last year to more than 64.5 million. The above average annual increase was driven by net migration adding almost 260,000, and a natural growth of births over deaths added another 226,000.
The UK has also reached middle age as better healthcare increases life expectancy. Official figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the median age has risen from 33.9 years in 1974 to 40 last year.
The population grew across the UK but the biggest rises were in southern and eastern England. London had the largest increase of 122,000.
Peter Large, head of population estimates at the ONS, said that growth was 53 per cent due to net immigration and 46 per cent due to natural growth. Population growth rates are now back at levels seen between 2007 and 2011 after two years of lower growth between 2012 and 2013.
Population experts and campaigners for lower immigration warned of the impact of the rising population on housing and other public services.
Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of Migration Watch UK, which campaigns for lower immigration, said: “A population increase at this rate will only worsen the housing crisis and put still more pressure on our public services. It is vital the government realise their ambition to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands.”
Simon Ross, the chief executive of Population Matters, said: “The ONS estimates should serve as a warning that we need to act sooner rather than later to reduce population growth. We are all affected adversely by the rapid population growth of recent decades.”
Overall, the population grew by 0.77 per cent, or 491,000, in the year to June 2014, higher than the average annual increase of 0.75 per cent over the past decade. The figures show the continuing impact that immigration is having on population growth, with net migration up by 76,300 — the highest level since 2011, the ONS said.
Its impact is seen most graphically in the 11.6 million in the 21-35 age group, where the ONS estimated that 11 per cent were migrants — 807,000 females and 674,000 males. England’s population grew by 450,000 to 54.3 million, Scotland by 19,900 to 5.3 million, Wales by 9,600 to 3.1 million and Northern Ireland by 10,800 to 1.8 million. London was the magnet for migrants, with more than one third heading there.
Without immigration bringing in thousands of younger people, the median age would be even higher than 40, the ONS suggested. Mr Large said the population reaching a median age of 40 was due to “improving mortality rates, mostly at the higher ages”.
Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, said: “The major factor in increasing longevity is the fall in deaths from circulatory diseases driven by a decline in smoking and medical advances such as the introduction of statins.” Men were living longer because jobs were less physically demanding and safer.