Is Britain full up?


Sterling – a credit to his country

Reading the Office of National Statistics “National Population Projection“, I’d answer that question “no”. If anything it seems we are not growing as a population as fast as we’d expected.

The ONS tell us the UK population growth rate is slower than in their 2016-based projections; the projected population is 0.4 million less in mid 2028 and 0.9 million less in mid 2043. We are not procreating as we did and we’re going to die in greater numbers as us baby boomers , boom goes bust.

Migration to the rescue

And – amazing as this sounds -migration will have a greater impact on the size of the population than the combination of births and deaths. Although migration declines at first and the number of births is stable, the number of deaths is projected to grow as those born in the baby boom after World War Two reach older ages.

National population projections do not attempt to predict the impact of political circumstances such as Brexit, to the ONS – Brexit is a political pimple on the face of Britain.

Readers will remember that the original reasons given for leaving the EU was to take back control and – certainly for the hardcore leavers this meant taking back control of our borders. To the ONS growth in Britain will be driven by the very thing Brexit set out to contain!

Britain’s got talent older

Statistics do not make value judgements about talent, but they do tell us we are getting older.

Someone is going to have to support the cost of older people who produce less and – certainly in terms of healthcare – consume more.

The message is clear, if Britain doesn’t fill up through immigration, the burden of my generation will fall on my child’s.

Screenshot 2019-10-23 at 06.40.57

Young migrants save Britain!

This is not a headline I expect to read in the Mail or Express, but if we are to believe the statistics.

But it is the other way of reading migration and one that suggests not just we’ve got capacity, but that we’ve got an urgent need to get young blood in from around the world.

I’m fiercely proud to be working with Chakshay, Ritesh, Rahul, Arun, Azeem and Rahamut, The core AgeWage team includes immigrants from France, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, all young , brilliantly educated and hard-working. Three have MBAs.

I have chosen who I want to work with and I have found that I want to work with the kind of people that want to grow our business – immigrants who see Britain as a great place to work.

The threat of intolerance to change

Watching Raheem Sterling last night , I felt young again.


Our great nation is built on immigration from Irish, Jews, Indians, Pakistanis , Bangladeshis , West Indians, Africans – people from around my globe.

My church, the Wesleyan Chapel, is bedecked with the flags of  nations, the congregation loud , vibrant and diverse.

When I go to work, when I watch sport and when I worship, I am constantly reminded of the benefit of living in this diverse and multicultural society.

I’m grateful to the ONS for reminding me that diversity is not just helping me, it’s helping us as a nation.

The greatest threat is of trying to control this great flood of good that comes to our shores.

Projections not predictions

Writing in his blog, Andrew  Nash – who is head of population projections at the ONS says

Taking net international migration, 190,000 is the average annual figure for the 25 years up to mid-2018. It is true that many recent years have seen higher figures, but as recently as the early 1990s some years experienced a net outflow of migrants from the UK. Given how much change can occur in a single generation, taking a longer-term average is preferred.

The message is clear, our attempts to control the great demographic changes that sweep the globe , give us no more control than Canute had over the waves.

We should prepare for a yet more diverse Britain , one that is more – not less – connected with the world.  Britain is far from full up, it will fill from outside to its great benefit.

Projections matter more than predictions.


About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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