Migrants Expected To Make UK Housing Shortage Worse

A fresh wave of UK immigration is expected when quotas on work permits for migrants from Romania and Bulgaria are dropped under EU freedom-of-movement rules.

Government ministers face an increasing amount of pressure to disclose their official estimate of how many immigrants will pour into Britain next year from Eastern Europe, after remarks were made by Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles on The BBC’s Sunday Politics Show.

Mr Pickles conceded on TV that a wave of immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria will cause problems in the UK housing supply and admitted that Government officials had already made a forecast of the numbers expected to arrive when border controls are relaxed with the two nations in January 2014 but refused to reveal figures.

His public remarks have triggered calls from Tory backbenchers for the Government to reveal the potential size of the population surge, sparked by the change in EU rules.

The Home Office had previously estimated that under the last Labour Government, the relaxation of borders with new EU countries including Poland and Latvia led to approximately 750,000 immigrants coming to the UK within three years, although no further degree of accuracy was forthcoming.

Whilst confirming that Whitehall officials had done some preliminary work on estimating the number of immigrants likely to come from Eastern Europe and the possible impact on the supply of private and social housing in the UK, Mr Pickles comments remained fairly vague when questioned further on the matter, although he did state “The truth is I don’t think anybody entirely knows the number of immigrants expected from Bulgaria or Romania. That’s not something I think would be helpful in terms of to go through the numbers just yet. I think you’d have to have a degree of confidence in terms of the numbers before I would publicly say. And one of the reasons why we asked for fresh information is to make sure that before I make a public statement as regards these that I’m confident on the numbers. A surge in immigrants is expected in east London, where many Romanians have already settled. Given that we’ve already got a housing shortage, any influx from Bulgaria and Romania is going to cause problems. It’s going to cause problems not just in terms of the housing market but also the social housing market.”

The influx of immigrants could be a welcome blessing for many Buy To Let landlords who still have vacant rental properties, although the process of Tenant Referencing and Rent Guarantee Insurance may face a few extra challenges, future tenants will have to have some form of employment in order to meet the monthly rental payments.

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