The UK population is expected to grow to 70 million by 2027, and this will affect the spending patterns of the government and households alike.
Currently, living costs in the UK place it among the top 15 most expensive countries in the world. Very few European states have a higher cost of living.
While expenditure differs across the nation, most UK households spend the majority of their income on housing, transport and recreation. Serious challenges related to population growth could increase these expenses dramatically.
This briefing will examine the cost of living in the UK, arguing that prices have increased over time and that it is probable that they will grow further due to increasing demand and impending scarcity of resources. Population growth will drive up housing prices, increase demand for energy, and create additional congestion of the transport system. The government may have to start charging for services that are now free — or it may have to increase taxes, as many local authorities are already doing.
While many problems may be overcome temporarily with extra funding, tax-payers will have to foot that bill. To minimise the harm that could cause, the government should see the population-related crises that are already occurring in some local authorities as an indication of what will happen in other areas if population growth continues unabated.
It must realise that policies to stabilise population growth are urgently needed to prevent this from happening.