UK population saw biggest increase since 1947 Just Before Brexit Vote

by Ray Clancy on July 10, 2017

Before the UK voted to leave the European Union, the country recorded the sharpest annual population increase in nearly 70 years, driven mainly by immigration, official figures show.

There were an estimated 65,648,000 people living in the country at the end of June 2016, up 0.8% or 538,000, suggesting that despite the referendum vote looming, people were still eager to move to the UK.

The population of London grew twice as fast as Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Overall the population of England grew the fastest and exceeded 55 million for the first time.

The figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) mean that in numerical terms it was the largest increase in population since the 12 months to June 1947, just after the end of the Second World War when the UK population increased by 551,000.

The ONS said net international migration continued to be the main driver behind the growth, while there was also a rise in births and fewer deaths. Some 62.4%, or 336,000, of the rise was down to net international migration.

According to Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of Migration Watch UK, such high levels of immigration are not sustainable and he backing a strong stance on numbers when the country leaves the EU.

‘The Brexit negotiations must achieve a substantial reduction in EU migration. Failing that we will have to build the equivalent of a city the size of Birmingham every two years for the indefinite future,’ he said.

‘Any such outcome will be deeply opposed by the public, especially since nearly three quarters of us believe that the country is already crowded,’ he added.

But so far the negotiations on what rights EU expats will have in the UK after Brexit have achieved little. Under Prime Minister Theresa May’s current offer EU citizens in the UK would be offered settled status.

The status would mean that EU expats who have lived in the UK for at least five years would be given access to health and education and other benefits but Members of the European Parliament claim this is not enough.

In a letter MEPs from four political groups in the EU parliament said that the current UK proposal would take away rights EU citizens currently have, and create new red tape and uncertainty for millions of people.

The letter also suggests that the EU parliament has the right to vote on any deal put forward on the rights of citizens. However, a spokesman for the British Government said there are inaccuracies in the claims.

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