Mass immigration: Report warns of strain on Britain’s infrastructure caused by population growth

Economic benefits are outweighed by decline in living standards, argues Cambridge economist

The huge growth sparked by mass immigration could put strain on Britain’s infrastructure and lower living standards, according to a report.

In his analysis for think tank Civitas, Cambridge economics expert Robert Rowthorn argues that the current financial benefits of migration, including higher wages, GDP increases and a lower “dependency ratio” of people claiming Government pensions, will be outweighed by the pressures of a larger population.

Net migration from the EU currently stands at around 130,000 people a year and while movement from Poland is expected to slow, numbers from Bulgaria and Romania are deemed “unlikely” to fall.

“Unrestrained population growth would eventually have a negative impact on the standard of living through its environmental effects such as overcrowding, congestion and loss of amenity,” Professor Rowthorn said.

Video: Cameron wants to 'put Britain first'

“Such losses would ultimately outweigh the small gain in average wages apparently resulting from mass immigration.”

According for the Office for National Statistics, a “high migration scenario” could see the UK’s population grow by 20 million over the next 50 years and 29 million over the next 75 years, although the actual figure could be much lower.

Such numbers would have an impact on housing, land, schools, hospitals, water supplies and transport.

The study acknowledges that immigration is currently having a positive effect on the economy, upping GDP and rejuvenating the ageing population to increase the proportion of working age residents.

But Professor Rowthorn warned that if future immigrants fail to get jobs in a saturated market, or displace native workers in low-skill industries, the tide will turn.

He said: “The only thing that is certain is that immigration on the present scale, if it continues, will lead to much faster population growth and a much larger total GDP than would otherwise be the case, with consequent pressure on infrastructure and the environment.”

Last year 77 per cent of the UK public wanted immigration reduced – compared to 63 per cent in 1995 The Government sparked outrage with its 'immigration van' campaign earlier this year The economist, who has published several papers on the impact of immigration and wrote a comment piece in the Telegraph in 2006 calling the Labour Government’s arguments about economic benefits “a mirage”.

In his latest report, he also voiced concerns for migrants’ home countries that are losing professionals that could improve their economies.

“Migration policy towards these countries should be seen as a complement to the official aid policy and not as a means of enriching ourselves at their expense,” he wrote.

To encourage skilled workers to return to their home countries, Professor Rowthorn suggested extending the bursary programme for students from poorer nations, on the condition that they leave the UK on completion of their studies.

An Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Cambridge, he has also advised the International Monetary Fund, UN, International Labour organisation and the Government.

A spokesman for the Home Office said the report showed it was vital for the Government to “reverse the unfettered immigration policy of the past”.

He added: "It is clear that uncontrolled, mass immigration makes it difficult to maintain social cohesion, puts pressure on our public services and forces down wages for people on low incomes.”

Read more: Sustained immigration has not hurt Britain's economy, advisers say
EU examines Cameron's migrant benefits crackdown
PM pledges Magna Carta lessons to push 'British values'
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent