Friday, October 28, 2011

UK grows by 500,000 every year: Annual population increase, fuelled by immigration, equals city the size of Leeds

Unending traffic jams and sardine trains? Brits ain't seen nothing yet!

Britain's population will soar by the equivalent of a city the size of Leeds every year for the next decade, according to official figures.

Revised statistics show numbers rising at a sustained pace not matched for 100 years. And the main factor behind the increase is immigration. The projections suggest that, in just over 30 years, Britain will overtake Germany as the most populous country in Europe.

All estimates produced two years ago have been revised heavily upwards in a report published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics. Over the next ten years, the population is expected to rise annually by 491,000. Leeds’s current total is 486,000.

Most will live in the already-crowded South of England.

It is predicted that the landmark total of 70million – a figure the immigration minister in the last Labour government said would never be allowed – will be reached in the middle of 2027. This is two years earlier than previous reckoning. Two thirds of the overall growth in numbers, says the ONS, will be brought about either directly or indirectly by migration.

In the long term, net migration – the number added to the population every year through arrivals from abroad – will continue to run at 200,000 a year, the ONS said. This level, some 20,000 a year more than was predicted two years ago, is more than double the net migration that David Cameron has promised will be achieved by Coalition curbs.

The revised estimates come at a time of deepening concern over the effects of fast- rising population on housing, transport, water, power and state services such as education, health and welfare benefits.

The past month has seen a row over planning rules sparked by Whitehall attempts to make room for the new homes needed to accommodate the expanding numbers, with conservation groups warning about the unrestrained construction of housing on green fields in the South of England.

Tory ministers also face pressure over plans to improve transport links through high-speed railways.

A Labour-backed think-tank has called for older people and empty nesters to be taxed out of family homes, making room for poor families living in overcrowded conditions.

And yesterday the Daily Mail revealed that British primary schools have the highest pupil-teacher ratio of any country in Europe.
Girls born in 2060 will have a life expectancy of 100 years, with boys at 98.6 years

Sir Andrew Green, of MigrationWatch, said: ‘These figures confirm that the UK’s dramatic rise in population will continue unabated. The population is now set to hit 70million in 16 years, over two thirds of which is due to immigration. ‘As people return home this evening crammed into public transport and on congested roads, they could well ask where all of these people are going to fit.’

Experts also warned of the impact on pensions. By 2035, the figures showed, there will be 2.9 people of working age to support each pensioner, compared with 3.2 now.

The estimates, based on figures for 2010, say that the current United Kingdom population of 62.3million will rise to 67.2million by 2020 – 700,000 more than envisaged in projections based on 2008 figures.

Numbers will reach 70million in 2027 and 73.2million in 2035. In the same year, Britain will overtake France for numbers, and Germany, where low birthrates have resulted in a falling population, will be matched by 2043. The land area of Germany is 137,000 square miles – almost 50 per cent larger than the United Kingdom at 94,000 square miles.

Over the next 25 years, the ONS said, the population will rise at the rate of 438,000 a year – the equivalent of a city the size of Bristol every 12 months.

If the population continues to grow at the present rate, it will be almost 100 million a century from now. In Europe, only Luxembourg, Cyprus and Ireland are likely to see faster population growth.

Net migration is directly responsible for 47 per cent of the projected population growth, and natural increase – the greater numbers of births than deaths – accounts for the rest.

But the ONS said immigration had the effect of pushing up birthrates, so that net migration was responsible overall for two thirds of population growth.

The annual rate of increase for the next decade is expected to be 0.8 per cent a year – a speed of growth surpassed only in one year of the baby-boom era of the 1950s and 60s and not matched for a sustained period since the Edwardian years before the First World War.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said: ‘Immigration to the UK has been too high. That is why we have made sweeping changes to get a grip on immigration in this country, closing down routes subject to abuse and taking action against those with no right to be here.

‘Much has been done, but there is more to do to bring down net migration to the order of tens of thousands a year and ensure migration which benefits the UK.’


Criminals released, children incarcerated. Britain's immigrant removal system is Broken

What is wrong with this picture? Four thousand foreign criminals who should have been deported are at large on the streets of Britain, released from detention centres because there is apparently no prospect of them being deported within a reasonable time.

Meanwhile, up to three thousand asylum seekers and economic migrants, a shocking percentage of them children, remain locked up in limbo within the UK Border Agency’s thirteen Immigration Removal Centres.

It seems that nothing whatsoever has changed in Britain’s Kafkaesque system of detention since 2006 when the news that more than 1,000 foreign criminals, including three murderers and nine rapists, had been freed instead of deported, almost cost Charles Clarke his job.

The then Home Secretary called the matter regrettable; yet he did not seem regard it seriously enough to be a resigning matter. In the intervening years, that number has somehow quadrupled.

Thank goodness then, that Theresa May has taken a stand. She used her speech at the party conference to announce new moves to amend immigration rules to stop foreign criminals resisting deportation, notably by invoking the Human Rights Act, in particular, Article 8, on the right to a private and family life.

Frustratingly, Ms May’s commendable if over-due plans were overshadowed by the ensuing 'cat-gate' row with Ken Clarke over the Bolivian immigrant whose argument for leniency included his joint ownership of a pet feline.

It is to be hoped that Ms May will be successful in pushing through the secondary legislation needed to modify UK rules so that more offenders can be legitimately removed. The figure of 3,775 criminals released rather than deported, revealed in a new report by UKBA chief inspector John Vine is certainly shocking. Sadly, it is a statistic which highlights the fundamental and persistent failures which are now endemic in Britain’s broken immigration detention system.

The United Kingdom has the largest network of immigration removal centres in Europe, with more than 3,000 places in 13 official centres, the majority of which – nine – are run, on behalf of the UKBA, by private contractors, including Serco, G4S, Reliance Secure Task Management and Global Solutions Ltd.

Around 30,000 individuals, the majority of them, asylum seekers, pass through the system annually. Of these, around half will be processed within an eight week period. The other 50 per cent are often stuck in the limbo of a complex and labyrinthine system of asylum hearings, appeals and case resolution procedures which can go on for months and years, at significant cost to the tax payer.

The conditions in which inmates are kept at these centres varies significantly, with the centre at Dover described last year by inspector Dame Anne Owers, as 'more like a prison'. Frustrated inmates regularly stage protests against inhumane treatment including - they claim - torture and physical abuse, prolonged detention and appalling conditions.

Campsfield House, near Oxford, has been the scene of regular riots; Yarl’s Wood in Bedfordshire was burnt to the ground following a violent protest after an inmate was physically restrained by G4S staff. Detainees at both centres staged protracted hunger strikes only last year, declaring they were refusing food in a bid for their voices to be heard. Suicides are far from uncommon. A Moldovan man aged 35 killed himself at Campsfield House in August while two detainees were found dead at Colnbrook detention centre near Heathrow in July.

Unsurprisingly, it is difficult to obtain much information about Immigration Removal Centres or, indeed, about the workings of the system itself from the Home Office, which generally does not publish these facts and figures, most notably on the financial costs of immigration detention.

Latest numbers, reported to Parliament last year, indicated that the average overall cost per bed per day is £120, apparently taking into consideration exceptional costs, such as damage caused by fire and also by individuals suing for unlawful detention. Thus, if a centre such as Campsfield operates at 90 per cent capacity, it would cost an estimated £9 million per year to run. Given that there is a constant barrage of litigation from detainees seeking redress for illegal detention, or separation from their children, it would seem likely that the true costs of the system are much, much higher.

The issue of children in immigration removal centres remains a thorny one, particularly for the Liberal Democrat coalition partners who made the ending of child detention a key element of their family values policies. In December 2010, Nick Clegg confidently announced that the detention of children would end in May 2012. Yet between May and August 2011, 697 children, a third of whom were unaccompanied, were held at the UK’s south-east ports. What exactly Mr Clegg intends to do with the ones who arrive inconveniently after next May’s deadline is not yet clear.

That 4,000 miscreants, among them murderers, rapists and paedophiles, have been released from an immigration detention system too hide-bound by red tape and European legislation to hold them is shocking.

Theresa May needs to move swiftly, to ensure that Article 8 is no longer used to place the family rights of foreign criminals above the rights of the British public.

However, the Home Office also needs to take immediate steps to tackle the deep-seated problems of an unstable and increasingly dangerous detention system where lone children are incarcerated, detainees are reduced to rioting in protest at inhumane treatment and suicide can sometimes seem like an acceptable alternative or a welcome release.


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