A brilliant refutation of the uninformed “There are too many people in this country already” narrative with basic facts, by Dan Sohege.

First published in August 2020.

The Times

There is so much wrong, or, to put it charitably, misrepresented in this piece by Clare Foges that it is hard to know where to begin. So for ease, let’s start at the beginning.

If you are complaining about population increases then it is probably worth not blaming the whole thing on migrants if you don’t want to be called “racist” for starters. Just a helpful hint to kick things off.

The Times

Let’s look at this. The usual trick here of scary numbers not actually meaning much. The UK population is currently about 66.65 million, so 10 year increase of 3.35 million. That’s 335,000 people per year, of which – by Foges’ own figures (79%) – only 264,650 are migrants, or 0.4% of the UK population.

What is often used at this point is that Britain is the “most densely populated country in Europe”. Funnily enough, just dividing land mass by population isn’t the most accurate way of judging space for people to live, not least because it ignores the increasing vertical living.

Depending on the calculations used, buildings – that’s all of them residential and non-residential alike – cover between 1.4% and 2% of land in the UK. Not exactly the dramatic squeeze which Clare Foges makes out.

BBC News
The Times

While successive governments have shouted “build, build, build”, they haven’t actually built. In 2019, the Public Accounts Committee warned government that construction figures for new homes was “artificially inflated” by 40,500, and still failed to meet targets by nearly a half.

It doesn’t seem unreasonable to assume that when you have only 2% of land used for building, a shortfall on targets and a small 4.5% decade-long population growth, that when you blame a 0.4% increase of current population on “overcrowding” you may have an alternate agenda than housing.🔷

[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 5 August 2020 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected, and published with the author’s consent. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]

(Cover: Wallpaperflare.)

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