Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Are the Greens bonkers on migration?

Grauniad: Ed Miliband wants to control immigration. Let’s look at the myths behind this message

Natalie Bennett argues that migration is being blamed for problems that originate in government failure, against further curbs on migration and against some of the more controversial measures currently in place.

Posted by nickb @ 04:51 PM (3895 views)
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16 Comments

1. nickb said...

I think she is right that immigration is not contributing very much to the problem. Why? According to official statistics (ONS) two relevant facts are: 1. population has increased by about 5 million since year 2000 out of 10 million since early 1960s. This fact is salient in the minds of those favouring further and harsh immigration controls. But 2. official statistics also show that the housing stock has risen by 2.1 million from 2000-2011 on a net basis. (ONS 'housing market trends' 2014). The population figure runs to mid-2012 (ONS 'changes in the UK population' 2014). So even if there were no net houses built in 2012-2013 the two figures roughly net out, taking into account that on average 2.4 persons inhabit a dwelling.
So whatever else is true about the Greens on immigration, I think she is not wrong that it is not population change, and so not immigration, that is driving house price gains. Migrants are a scapegoat for this.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 05:01PM Report Comment
 

2. enuii said...

Dual incomes, low interest rates and easy credit are the principal drivers for house price rises, add in the fact that some houses and areas are more desirable or have local pressure on demand and everyone can 'afford' to pay more for the same. This keeps banks solvent and provides for more individual leverage via credit to keep a disfunctional economy ticking along. Add in a few migrants and you have more plebs to keep the whole thing going a bit longer.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 07:05PM Report Comment
 

3. nickb said...

@2
Almost as if the real purpose of a house were to be a vehicle for a mortgage ... so the more people and houses the better.
N

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 07:50PM Report Comment
 

4. Steve Farrel said...

Hi everyone. I'm afraid there really is a housing shortage.

Houses built in last five years minus demolitions: 320,000
Increase In population in last 5 years: 2.2 million

2.2 million divided by 320,000 equals 6.88 people per dwelling

Compare this 6.88 to the long run average of 2.4 people per dwelling and the housing shortage becomes clear.

Its even worse than the numbers tell us because in the last 5 years we've seen a sharp rise in single occupancy and we've generally been building where the demand is least. For example, the 5 year ratio for the South East is 9.2 people per dwelling.

As you can see, its more of a crisis than a shortage and it's mostly happened in the last 5 years. It'll take 400,000 new houses to undo the damage from the last 5 years and a further 170,000 houses per year to maintain the long run average, based on current population growth.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015 06:19AM Report Comment
 

5. debtserf said...

Steve; whatever the true housing needs, I cant really see the political will to fix this. Quite aside from the fact that to alleviate the shortage would impact prices - and that is a non-starter for all the vested interests who quite like things just the way they are - it would require the kind of spending on infrastructure which this country is too broke to commit to.

Never too broke to commit to bailing out corrupt financial institutions, but definitely too broke to invest in the future of the country in any meaningful way.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015 12:58PM Report Comment
 

6. nickb said...

Hi Steve,
Where do you get your figures from? census stats on population, something of a gold standard, only appear every 10 years.
I have provided sources from official statistics - you have provided nothing so far in the way of a source.
Without that it is just ... hype..?
The ONS paper has more than 100,000 per year in two of those 5 years (2010-2011), so on the face of it your numbers look implausible.
Nick

Wednesday, May 6, 2015 04:24PM Report Comment
 

7. nickb said...

In addition to that Steve, you are not adjusting by the base numbers. suppose no net housing at all was completed over the last 5 years. The difference that would make to occupancy would on the face of it be a change from 2.4 persons to a house to 2.49 persons per house. Hardly a crisis.
N

Wednesday, May 6, 2015 04:38PM Report Comment
 

8. Steve Farrel said...

The numbers are collated from detailed local authority returns to the department of The Secretary of State and NOMIS data sets. There is no other source of complete, up to date and accurate data on this subject. HFRs are incomplete and demolition numbers in particular cannot be obtained from any other source. The 2011 Census was taken in March 2011 and can therefore make little contribution to the identified crisis 5 year data set Incidentally, the government had the census independantly appraised and it was subsequently declared to be 'pointless, out of date and wasteful'.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015 07:23PM Report Comment
 

9. Wherebee said...

Those who claim that immigration has no impact on housing prices/shortages: a question. At what level would net immigration cause a problem under your world view? 30 million a year? 300? a billion? infinity?

unless you state that the UK could accept a billion new people a year without any impact on housing issues for those already here, you are logically concluding that immigration DOES have an impact.

So your argument becomes then that the impact is marginal at the numbers you believe are involved.

But we know the stats are not there to prove or disprove (official immigration figs are estimated to be 10 million less than population estimates of large supermarkets, for example). So it becomes a belief based conclusion, not facts.

Thursday, May 7, 2015 03:18AM Report Comment
 

10. nickb said...

Steve,
The government appoints the independent assessors who give it the answer it wants to hear. There is a census being planned for 2021, and usually we are told it is indispensable for allocating resources. Where is a link to your data? You don't answer the point about base rates - because you can't?
N

Friday, May 8, 2015 12:34PM Report Comment
 

11. nickb said...

@Wherebee
Do I see a strawman here? Suggest you calm down.
Of course net immigration begins to put pressure on prices the moment it exceeds house building. But has it? That is what is questionable.
"population estimates of large supermarkets" - come off it!!
N

Friday, May 8, 2015 12:37PM Report Comment
 

12. nickb said...

Steve,
I've just been on NOMIS and can't get population estimates beyond mid 2013. So I guess your "2.2 million in the last 5 years" comes from there, where it actually looks like 2.3 million. Still looking for housing completions and demolitions. And still no hard evidence of anything other than an increase in the order of that from 2.4 to 2.49.
N

Friday, May 8, 2015 01:38PM Report Comment
 

13. Steve Farrel said...

Nick, you cannot get what you need on the internet. You need to write to the Secretary of State to gain access to current local authority returns. If you are interested in your particular area you could try writing to your local authority. Even then, it will take a good team several months to reach a conclusion. Alternatively you can read published housing reports from several independent sources that have accessed the returns.

Friday, May 8, 2015 02:17PM Report Comment
 

14. reticent said...

"population estimates of large supermarkets"

Classic. There are around 8.5m people in London. That's where the vast majority of immigrants go. Where are these 10m hiding exactly?

Saturday, May 9, 2015 05:16PM Report Comment
 

15. nickb said...

Steve,
So nothing publicly available to back up your assertions then. And still no evidence or logic that the implied change to occupancy is of anything other than an imperceptible magnitude.
N

Monday, May 11, 2015 10:30AM Report Comment
 

16. Steve Farrel said...

On the contrary nick, it is all publicly available in several recently published reports - all of which accessed and presented the indicated data. These readily available reports come from remarkably disparate sources and yet all reach the conclusion that there is a chronic shortage of houses. It is of course your prerogative to believe that this dispate bunch of universities, charities renowned research outfits and think tanks invented the data but I'm afraid that would put you into conspiracy theory territory. You appear to have reached your conclusions by referencing only one fifth of the required population data, no demolition data, no regional split data and no single occupancy data. I hope you don't mind me saying so but you're not realistically in a position to comment on this particular topic. By the way, you referenced the Green Party. They are the most recent converts to the need for mass building. They made it a prominent part of their manifesto. Imagine how serious this crisis is if even they feel compelled by the data to advocate mass building. I'll.say goodbye now.

Monday, May 11, 2015 02:53PM Report Comment
 

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