MigrationWatch is at it again, with a claim that meeting the social housing needs of new immigrants will cost the taxpayer £1 billion a year for the next 25 years.
Migration of truth?
Migration is currently expected to lead to 83,000 new households being formed each year, out of a projected total of 232,000 new households.
These are official figures, but as Inside Housing readers know, there is a huge gap between projections of household formation and actual numbers of houses built.
The absurdity of the figure is clear just from recalling how much investment was allocated in the last Spending Review: only £4.5bn for the next four years.
So MigrationWatch would have us believe that migrants are going to use up practically all of this allocation.
The fact is that the government currently plans to build 150,000 social homes over the next four years and few if any new migrants will qualify to get these.
Only 7 per cent of new lettings go to foreign nationals, and the vast majority of these are likely to be people who have lived here for many years, have settled immigration status, have started families and now qualify through waiting lists.
As a new briefing from Oxford’s Migration Observatory points out, 75 per cent of newly-arrived migrants go into the private rented sector.
MigrationWatch also tries to link social housing and migration by putting the growth in waiting lists and in net migration on the same graph.
This compares chalk and cheese: only a very small percentage of new migrants are eligible to go on waiting lists, and an even smaller proportion would have actually put their names down, for a variety of reasons.
Much of the growth in the period shown is in migrants from the new EU countries, most of whom did not initially qualify for social housing anyway.
These distorted messages get picked up by the national press and then they fuel the resentment that social landlords find in the communities where they work.
Put simply then, for every three houses currently being built by housing associations and councils in England, two would be allocated to migrant families. Get real, please, MigrationWatch.
John Perry is a policy adviser to the CIH.