Etter at offisielle fremskrivinger høsten 2008 viste at Storbritannias befolkning på 61 millioner vil passere 70 millioner i løpet av de neste 20 årene, sa den britiske immigrasjonsministeren Phil Woolas at Labour-regjeringen ville sette et tak på antallet innvandrere i året for ikke å la befolkningen øke med de forventede 9 millioner. I følge den britiske fremskrivingen vil innvandring utgjøre 7 millioner av den forventede befolkningsveksten. Per i dag har Storbritannia en nettoinnvandring på 237.000 årlig. De fleste innvandrere til Storbritannia bosetter seg i England, som allerede er det tettest befolkede landet i Europa.
Innenriksminister Alan Johnson avviser imidlertid at regjeringen kommer til å begrense innvandringen, slik immigrasjonsminister Woolas lovte i oktober 2008. Etter eget utsagn ligger Johnson «ikke våken om natten og begymrer seg om at befolkningen vil øke til 70 millioner»:
Official figures show at the current rate of increase the British population will hit the milestone within 20 years, with a further seven million immigrants placing a burden on public services.
Immigration Minister Phil Woolas has pledged that the Government will not allow the population to grow to that level. But last night he was apparently undermined by his boss.
Speaking at the Home Affairs Select Committee, Mr Johnson said he would not bring in a cap because it would harm the economy, claiming the argument that immigration had made a contribution to the economy was ‘irrefutable’.
‘I do not lie awake at night worrying about a population of 70million,’ he told the cross-party group of MPs.
‘I’m happy to live in a multi-cultural society. I’m happy to live in a society where we not only welcome those coming to live and work in this country, but also where we can go and live and work in other countries.’
The Home Secretary did acknowledge the recession has made it more difficult for ministers to convince British workers who have lost their jobs that immigration is beneficial.
Men innenriksministerens argumentasjon støttes ikke av offisielle statistikker, som viser viser at flesteparten av nye arbeidsplasser i privat sektor har gått til innvandrere. I følge regjeringens egen undersøkelse av den britiske arbeidsstyrken i 2008 har 1.089 av 1.334 millioner arbeidsplasser har gått til utenlandske arbeidere i Storbritannia i løpet av en 7-års periode.
In recent years, Labour has tried to head off the rise of the British National Party by giving the impression that it is talking tough on immigration.
The BNP won two seats in the European Parliament last month after it exploited fears in Labour’s white working class heartlands, taking tens of thousands of votes from the governing party.
In 2007, Prime Minister Gordon Brown made his now infamous ‘British Jobs for British Workers’ speech at the Labour party conference. But the slogan has come back to haunt him – in particular during the dispute over the use of imported labour at the Total oil refinery in North Lincolnshire earlier this year.
A poll earlier this week found one in four Britons would like to see the population reduced by up to a third to ease overcrowding. Seven out of ten said the best way to curb population growth was to cut immigration.
The population stands at around 61million. If it hits 70million, with seven million immigrants making up most of the rise – it is the equivalent of adding the population of Sweden in just two decades, almost all of it in England.
Tidligere denne uken advarte pressgruppen MigrationWatch UK om at dagens innvandring må reduseres til 50.000 i året. Det er det samme antallet nasjonalstatistiker Karen Dunnell kom frem til at er nødvendig dersom regjeringen skulle holde sitt løfte om å holde befolkningen i Storbritannia under 70 millioner.
Det er ventet at Brown-regjeringens nyinnførte poengsystem for innvandrere sannsynligvis vil redusere antallet med rundt 8 prosent, fra 237.000 årlig til 217.000. Toryenes innvandringspolitikk tyder på at den årlige innvandringen bli redusert med rundt 27 prosent, til 172.000 i året.
Last night MigrationWatch director Sir Andrew Green said: ‘No wonder the political class is in such disrepute.
‘Here is a new Home Secretary immediately riding roughshod over public opinion that is hugely opposed to the mass immigration which this Government is encouraging.
‘For a start, how is a government that is broke going to pay for all the houses, schools and hospitals that an extra seven million immigrants will need in the next 20 years?’
Former Labour Minister Frank Field, who runs a cross-party group called Balanced Migration, which campaigns to limit the number of immigrants to manageable levels, was dismissive of the Home Secretary’s claims not to lie awake at night. He said: ‘It must be a misquote because it should be.’
I løpet av mars, april og mai 2009 økte for øvrig arbeidsledigheten i landet med 281.000 til 2.83 millioner, det høyeste antallet arbeidsledige i Storbritannia siden 1971.
«In Britain, we will also need a policy of controlled migration – ideally one which aims to balance emigration with immigration (which happened, naturally, well into the Eighties). That alone, coupled with our rather low birthrate, would see the UK’s population falling by several million by late-century, rather than increasing by a third.
As I said, this is not an argument about what kind of people we are, just raw, brute numbers.
And globally? Here the prognosis is rather gloomy. Across a vast swathe of Africa and south-west Asia, population growth is now at historically unprecedented levels.
Countries such as Nigeria, Ethiopia, Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen are set to triple, quadruple and quintuple their populations in the coming century.
Nothing short of a global catastrophe will stop the world’s population peaking at about nine billion by 2050 or so. That’s the equivalent of an extra two Indias. And all of these new people will add hugely to pressures on housing, greenhouse emissions, food, water and transport.
Like it or not, the world of the near-tomorrow – despite Home Secretary Alan Johnson’s blithe rejection of the idea – is going to be an intolerably crowded version of the world of today.
The solution, in the third world, lies with educating women and girls, and giving them full economic and reproductive rights. Where this has happened, as in south-east Asia, spiralling population growth rates were stopped in their tracks.
Most of all, we are going to have to start talking about all this before it’s too late. In Britain, we might lose our green belts, but Africa may well lose all its wildlife and forests – and face mass famine – if we do not tackle this problem soon.
The 21st century is make-or-break for us and our planet. It would be a tragedy if population growth became a catastrophe – a catastrophe we were too polite to even mention.»