Letters: Too few houses or too many people?
SIR - Housing demand has sent house prices and rentals soaring and for many younger people are completely unaffordable. The response from politicians is to say the answer is to build more houses.
Well, perhaps yes, but is this the only solution?
Should they not also be taking steps to reduce the spiralling population growth that is fuelling this demand? Britain has one of the highest population densities in the world and currently has about 65 million, nobody knows for certain since so many are living here illegally.
One report said that the UK’s population has increased by 400,000 in the last year alone and is on course to reach 70 million by 2027 and some predict over 100 million in a few short decades.
Local authorities are under government instructions to meet specific housing targets which often results in the nibbling away of the precious green belt land and infilling of many local spaces etc.
Our island land mass is finite and it isn’t nimbyism to want to protect our countryside, since once lost it is gone for good.
How can our current housing demand ever be met if we are building fewer homes than the numbers of new people arriving in the UK, said to be of the order of 230,000 per year?
We are told that we need immigrants to fulfil jobs that can’t be met by UK nationals. Not long ago it was said that we needed thousands of curry chefs and this could only be met by incomers from Bangladesh. Shouldn’t this type of thinking be challenged?
Two controversial projects are currently in the headlines, HS2 and the Heathrow third runway each costing billions, both of which will have devastating effects on many families and swallowing up of large tracts of land.
Then of course there was London Crossrail and the London sewer projects which again cost billions.
Throughout the country there are ever new local projects to ease congestion. Traffic lights here, roundabouts there, extra lanes on the roads. Probably very little of this work would be needed if the population was held steady and the money directed to where it is really needed.
What too of the misery of the daily commuters travelling to work and the cost of road accidents and the tragic effect on family lives all due to overcrowded roads?
Country roads can be widened but our town roads cannot easily be changed to avoid the restrictions caused by what is the almost permanent garaging of cars on them by families with two or three cars per household.
More people, more cars and thus more road congestion.
The demographics are known, we need so many doctors, dentists and candlestick makers per thousand of population and we should plan to make Britain have a sustainable population to achieve this.
Some changes are unpalatable but have to be done, such as the current raising of the state retirement age and tax relief on mortgages that was phased out decades ago.
Maybe we should make a start to limit the population growth by phasing out family child benefit or limiting it to a maximum of two children.
N A Fancett, New Milton