Homelessness is on the increase, leading the Communities and Local Government Committee to examine its causes. While the interplay between causes and consequences is undoubtedly complex, it is clear that the principal underlying reason is that demand for housing is growing faster than supply. This demand increase is in turn caused by population growth. Our submission to the inquiry suggests that the government should adopt policies to reduce and ultimately reverse such population growth.
Increasing longevity, rising fertility rates and persistent positive net migration will cause the UK’s population to continue to grow. In fact, there are no official projection variants in which no growth occurs. Yet, the physical limitations of the UK will make scarcity of material more common, and land prices will continue to rise as the UK runs out of brownfield sites to build on. Due to the impossibility of creating more land, there is a strong logic for promoting a sustainable population size.
Our submission suggests that it is important to address multiple components of population growth. Improved sex and relationship education and improved access to family planning will help to bring the UK population to a sustainable level. At the same time the government should look beyond its border to reduce the push factors for immigration to the UK. The empowerment of women will, for instance, reduce fertility rates across the globe.