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Labour MP backs Brexit and border controls to solve housing crisis

Labour MP backs Brexit and border controls to solve housing crisis

🕔18.Apr 2016

Britain’s housing shortage will not be solved while EU citizens have “unfettered access” to the UK, a Birmingham Labour MP has warned.

Roger Godsiff (Hall Green) said mass migration since 1998 had resulted in a dramatic rise in the population, forcing up house prices beyond the reach of most young couples who could no longer afford to get a foot on the ladder.

Mr Godsiff, one of a small minority of Labour MPs campaigning for Britain to leave the EU, risks annoying colleagues in Birmingham with an uncompromising message about the impact of migration.

Writing on the Huffington Post website Mr Godsiff said Britain’s open borders for EU citizens meant that a whole generation faced a housing crisis:

It all seemed so easy for our parents. They left school or college, entered the work place, bought their first home quite easily in their mid-twenties, or rented cheaply, and gradually climbed the ladder decade on decade.

Compare that with how difficult it is today for young people now to do the same. We are failing a whole generation.

There were many factors driving the housing shortage with a need to “reform our failing planning policy, promote private and public sector cooperation and build more homes at greater density”, he argued.

Mr Godsiff continued: “But to close the gap and increase supply relative to demand, we must also control our borders. With a net one-third of a million new people coming into our country each year, we will always be on the back foot when it comes to proving the homes that we need if we do not bring demand under control.”

He points to 1998 and the expansion of the EU into eastern Europe as the trigger for the housing crisis:

Up to that point net migration was close to zero. Since then, mass migration has resulted in a sharp and dramatic rise in our population. The unfettered access to the UK for any EU citizen – all 508 million of them – is now a significant driver of the UK’s spiralling housing demand. Supply cannot keep up.

As many EU countries fell into sustained recession towards the end of the last decade, burdened with a failing Euro currency, living in the UK became very attractive indeed.

According to the University of Oxford’s Migration Observatory, the EU born population in the UK stood at over three million in March 2015. What’s more, National Insurance data shows even three million could be a significant underestimate.

Mr Godsiff said he didn’t need a degree in economics to understand the effect increased demand was having on house prices: “With the equivalent of more than three cities the size Birmingham arriving from the EU alone – the impact on rents and house prices has been profound.”

He continued:

This referendum is the most important vote we will have in a generation. It is about securing a prosperous future for Britain. It’s about controlling our borders, spending our money on our priorities and making our laws in our country.

And it’s about the positive impact that taking back control in all three of these areas will have on our day to day lives, on our standard of living and on creating the type of country we want to leave for our children and grandchildren.

Managing our own borders so we can control the number of people entering the country is fundamental to securing that prosperous future. It is a fundamental element to answering the key economic challenges our country faces – not least, housing.

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