Britain to become the biggest country in Europe by 2050, United Nations report says
Britain is set to become the biggest country in the European Union by 2050, fuelled by nearly 200,000 new migrants every year, according to estimates from the United Nations.
By Christopher Hope, Whitehall Editor
Last Updated: 9:12PM GMT 11 Mar 2009
The news is an embarrassment for the Home Office which has been trumpeting its crackdown on immigration through a new Australian-style points-based system.
Forecasts published by the UN suggest Britain will the third most attractive destination for migrants, after the USA and Canada over the next 40 years.
The UN's biennial population forecasts found that a net 174,000 immigrants are set to arrive in Britain every year between now and 2050.
The inflow of new arrivals will mean that by 2050, Britain's population will be 72.4million people, up from 61.6million this year.
This will mean that the UK is the biggest country by population in the European Union, overtaking current biggest Germany which will have 70.5million and France (67.7million).
Overall the UN report found the world population is set to hit 9.1billion by 2050, up from 6.8billion this year.
The report warned of a rising number of older people who will have to be cared for by younger generations, with global life expectancy likely to rise from 68 years to 76 years by 2050.
The number of people aged over 60 is also to treble to two billion by 2050 worldwide.
Fertility is also expected to fall from 2.56children per woman to 2.02 children per woman by 2050 across the world.
The news came after England overtook Holland as the most crowded country in the EU, and the fourth most crowded in the world.
Yesterday Frank Field MP and Nicholas Soames MP, co-chairmen of the Cross Party Group on Balanced Migration, said: “This is yet more evidence of the pressure that uncontrolled immigration will place on our population, and therefore, on our quality of life.
“At least 70 per cent of this increase will be due to immigration. With England already being the most overcrowded country in Europe, the question for politicians is simple: if you want to stop our country's population rising to unacceptable levels, when will you get a grip on immigration?”
Damian Green, the shadow immigration minister, added: “This shows why it is more urgent than ever that we introduce proper controls on immigration.
“Conservatives want an annual limit on work permits, plus a lower age limit and also language tests for those who want to come here to get married.
“We cannot afford uncontrolled population growth.”
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