Issue not immigration, but volume

Two years ago I wrote a post arguing that England needs to build thousands of miles of new motorway. Transport infrastructure happens to be a particular interest of mine, but the same could no doubt be argued about a number of things – England needs a new airport runway; it needs more houses; it needs more health centres; it needs more schools.

Fundamentally, I believe it is this which led to the “Leave” vote in June. Interestingly, the regions of England which receive the lowest public funding per head were also those which were likeliest to vote “Leave”.

This has been presented as an issue of “immigration”, but actually it is more about “volume”. England, taken alone, ranks alongside the Netherlands as the most densely populated country (of any size) in the European Union. It does not much matter why England’s population is growing so quickly, the fact is that it is.

The population density issue is often presented as one of “immigration”, but actually it is one of population density. It should be called what it is. Of course, it will be jumped on by populist politicians who want it to be about immigration; and England does need to invest seriously in community relations. But let us deal with the actual issue – in some parts of England, the infrastructure in the broadest sense requires huge investment. We should not miss that point.


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