Will Migrants Make UK Housing Shortage Worse?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Government ministers face an increasing amount of pressure to disclose their official estimate of how many immigrants will pour into Britain next year from Eastern Europe, after remarks were made on The BBC’s Sunday Politics Show.

DCLG Secretary Eric Pickles Comments On Migrant's &  Housing Shortage Cause Uproar

DCLG Secretary Eric Pickles Comments On Migrant’s & Housing Shortage Cause Uproar

Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Secretary Eric Pickles conceded on TV that a wave of immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria will cause problems in the UK housing supply and admitted that Government officials had already made a forecast of the numbers expected to arrive when border controls are relaxed with the two nations in January 2014 but refused to reveal what it is.

His public remarks have triggered angry calls from backbench MP’s for the Government to reveal the potential size of the population surge, sparked by the change in EU rules.

Under the previous Labour Government, the Home Office estimated that the relaxation of borders with new EU countries including Poland and Latvia led to 750,000 immigrants coming to the UK within three years.

Now a new wave of immigration is expected when quotas on work permits for migrants from Romania and Bulgaria are dropped under EU freedom-of-movement rules.

Whilst confirming that Whitehall officials had done some preliminary work on estimating the number of immigrants likely to come from Eastern Europe and the possible impact on the supply of private and social housing in the UK, Mr Pickles comments remained fairly vague when questioned further on the matter, although he did state “The truth is I don’t think anybody entirely knows the number of immigrants expected from Bulgaria or Romania. That’s not something I think would be helpful in terms of to go through the numbers just yet. I think you’d have to have a degree of confidence in terms of the numbers before I would publicly say. And one of the reasons why we asked for fresh information is to make sure that before I make a public statement as regards these that I’m confident on the numbers. A surge in immigrants is expected in east London, where many Romanians have already settled. Given that we’ve already got a housing shortage, any influx from Bulgaria and Romania is going to cause problems. It’s going to cause problems not just in terms of the housing market but also the social housing market.” 

Tory MP Philip Hollobone said last night: “It’s bad enough to open our borders to 30 million-odd people from Romania and Bulgaria; it’s even worse to do so without making an estimate publicly available about the numbers we can expect coming to our shores. The fact is these two countries are poorer relative to Britain than the other Eastern European countries allowed into the EU and so potentially even more immigrants are likely to come. What we need is a transparent and open debate on immigration so if the Government does have figures or estimates, they really should publish them. People have a right to know how many hundreds of thousands of Romanians and Bulgarians could end up coming here, putting even more pressure on our schools and hospitals and other public services.”

Sir Andrew Green, of the population think tank Migration Watch, said: “If the Government does have an estimate, they should publish it and explain the methodology. There is no doubt that an influx from Romania and Bulgaria is the main threat to the Government’s immigration objective. It is absolutely essential that the benefits system should not be allowed to become a pull factor for yet more migrants from the EU.”

A Whitehall insider said “This research is in its infancy but the figures will be released once more work has been done to confirm then.”

The influx of immigrants could be a welcome blessing for many Buy To Let landlords who still have vacant rental properties, although the process of Tenant Referencing and Rent Guarantee Insurance may face a few extra challenges, future tenants will have to have some form of employment in order to meet the monthly rental payments, regardless of their country of origin.

This was written by Mike Clarke. Posted on at 12:30 pm. Filed under Landlord News, Referencing. Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments here with the RSS feed. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.