The UK’s fast-growing population ensures that housing supply will always chase demand — we have to build enough for a new Liverpool every year, just to keep the waiting lists constant.
Commented Population Matters chief executive Simon Ross, “As we approach the forthcoming local elections, we are calling on candidates to promote sustainable communities. That means stabilising populations rather than enduring continued growth with all that means for overdevelopment and poorer quality of life.”
The UK population rose by four million during the last 10 years and is forecast to continue rising at the same rate. Continued population growth, particularly in the south east of England, has contributed to:
- rising house prices and rents, residential overcrowding, smaller homes, social housing waiting lists, and loss of green spaces, the greenbelt and biodiversity to development;
- rising transport costs, delays and pollution from traffic congestion, and overcrowding on public transport;
- rising costs and reduced security of water, energy and waste services, environmental damage arising from providing such services, and rising emissions of greenhouse gases;
- reduced access to public services such as health and education;
- greater dependence on overseas resources when demand is rising around the world; and
- health issues arising from increased stress and pollution.
Local government can play a role by improving family planning services — Britain has one of the developed world’s highest rate of unplanned pregnancies — and by helping existing residents obtain the employment and housing that they need.