It turns out Britain isn't full

Britain is not “full up” and has “masses of space” for new building, a senior official at the Government’s tax and spending watchdog said yesterday – pointing out that Surrey has more land devoted to golf courses than housing.

Stephen Nickell, a board member at the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), told MPs that immigration is “not very important” economically. He admitted the public is worried about the number of migrants, but said only 10 per cent of the country was urbanised.

One argument says ‘We are a small island, not much room’. On the other hand, of course, there is masses of room. The urbanised part of Britain occupies less than 10 per cent of the surface area. The urbanised part of Surrey occupies less of Surrey than golf courses. So in some senses, plenty of space.

  • Stephen Nickell

He conceded that migrants may have held back the pay of unskilled migrants but insisted: “Some 35 per cent of health professional are migrants. It’s quite plain that, if they weren’t there, the health service would be in absolutely dire straits.”

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