Continuing population growth contributes to the depressing unemployment figures, Roger Martin Chair of Population Matters said today.
“With the UK population growing at some 400,000 per year, it is obvious that employment has to grow proportionately, just to prevent unemployment rising. No country can do that indefinitely – the notion of ‘sustainable growth’ in anything physical on a physically finite planet is clearly a a contradiction”.
He went on to say, “The two and a half million unemployed, including the unprecedented numbers of young people must wish that we had stable population numbers, so that any increase in jobs would give them a better chance of work. A stable population would also give workers more leverage. Companies would have to invest more in training; and with labour in shorter supply, wages would tend to rise, spreading our country’s wealth more equitably.”
“England is already the most over-crowded country in Europe”, he continued. “If everyone in the world lived like us, we would soon need nearly the resources of four planets to live sustainably. The rising environmental impact of ever more people, consuming ever more food, water and energy and producing ever more waste, pollution and CO2, is serious enough; but the job figures show the human cost as well.”
“Population Matters calls for a national consensus that, for environmental, economic and social reasons, as well as sheer quality of life, the 1973 UK Population Panel was right to recommend unanimously that the UK would be better off with a stable than a rising population. It is tragic that so many young people can only look forward to a bleak future; and equally tragic that the prospects of genuinely sustainable development, offering the best hope of a decent quality of life for everyone, are still being blighted by the ‘population taboo’ that stops politicians and NGOs discussing the urgent question of how, not whether, to stabilize our numbers”.