[Mr. Peter Atkinson in the Chair] — Immigration

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 17th July 2007.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Nicholas Soames Nicholas Soames Conservative, Mid Sussex 9:30 am, 17th July 2007

I am always grateful to my hon. Friend for his interventions, but, if I may, I shall come to those matters in my own time.

Looking ahead, the Government's projections anticipate that we will add 1 million to our population every five years. Of that increase, 83 per cent. will be due to new immigrants and their descendants. Even that forecast is based on the cautious assumption that immigration will fall by about 30 per cent. from its present level and remain flat. It is still too early to judge how many east Europeans will turn out to be temporary visitors and how many will stay on as immigrants. However, it is at least possible that they will sharply increase the pressure on our population.

If proof were needed, consider the Prime Minister's speech to the House last week. After 10 years in government, he has discovered that there is a housing crisis, particularly in respect of affordable homes. Why? Because for years, demand has outstripped supply. The Government have permitted—indeed, encouraged—the arrival of 2 million immigrants since 1997, but have completely failed to build the necessary houses or the wider social infrastructure that is so vital. They have not even built enough social housing to match the number of grants that they have made of asylum and other forms of protection. All those people qualify for social housing and many, but not all, will take it up.