This week much of the media was focusing on reports that the UK’s population is set to rise by 425,000 every year until 2033.
New Government figures show numbers soaring from 61.4million today to 71.6million.
Over two-thirds of the increase is likely to be related directly or indirectly to migration to the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The 425,000 annual rise is the equivalent of gaining a city the size of Bristol each year.
Officials warned if immigration and birth rates continue to rise the total could even hit 76.2million.
They forecast it will take just 24 years – from 2005 to 2029 – for the population to rise from 60million to 70million. In contrast it took 57 years – 1948 to 2005 – for numbers to go from 50million to 60million. It is the fastest rate of growth since the 1960s baby boom.
The figures also reveal that ageing Britain will see a seven-fold hike in citizens over the age of 100 – up from 11,000 to 80,000 by 2033.
The over-85’s will more than double from 1.3million to 3.3million, so the need for health care workers and nurses will increase.
At the moment, for every 10 pensioners there are 32 people of working age. But in 24 years time that will have dropped to just 28 people.
In other words, by 2033 there will be less people paying into the pensions and welfare kitty, but more people drawing from it – commonly known as the ‘pensions timebomb’, which is why all political parties recognise the need to increase the age at which we all start to draw our old aged pensions.
An ONS report said 45 per cent of growth in population will be caused by around 180,000 new immigrants coming to the UK every year.
The remaining 55 per cent is a result of “natural” change – more births than deaths. But the ONS stressed that is being driven by higher birth rates among immigrants.
Migrationwatch UK chairman Sir Andrew Green accused ministers of being in “denial”, claiming that: “Seventy per cent of the fastest growth rate in history is due to immigration.”
But Border Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said the figures showed population growth was slowing – providing evidence the Government’s points-based system was working.
Tim Finch, from the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr), says there is also a positive aspect to inward migration.
“If you have a lot of migrants in your society, the chances are they’re going to be contributing to the tax base, which allows you to support an ageing population,” he said.
When you combine an ageing population of people needing care and drawing pensions and benefits, with a fall in people of working age who can care for the elderly as well as pay taxes to fund their care, there is only one real solution: paradoxically, more immigration.
The UK needs immigration, combined with the control mechanism provided by a points-based system, to bring in new blood to both boost the working population and care for the elderly and sick.
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