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Population policy

January 2012

Population policy

A senior UK academic has called for an ‘active population policy’ to be set in place in Britain, after official figures indicated the UK’s population would grow to 73.2 million until 2035.
    Dr Thomas Renstrom, senior lecturer in economics at Durham University Business School, pointed to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) that present a population boom in the UK.
    Hot on the heels of global surveys that stated the world’s population is set to explode to nine billion within the next 50 years, the ONS survey indicates a growth here of 4.9 million by 2020, taking the populace up to 67.2 million in one decade.
    He said, ‘The report should serve as a wake-up call, that active population policy is needed. The projections raise concern regarding the sustainability of the future population size.
    ‘There is a common misconception among policymakers that increasing the working population through immigration will enable a government to raise more in taxes to pay for old-age pensions.
    ‘Any government is accountable to voters and, with a larger fraction of young in the voting population, a more likely scenario is that less can be raised to pay for old-age pensions.
    ‘Furthermore, large population increases will lead to an even larger cohort of pensionable people in the future, putting further strain on public finances’.
    Dr Renstrom also expressed concern about projections for former Eastern European states suggesting large falls in their populations. He said, ‘If this is due to emigration of talent, it will reduce the development prospects for those countries’.

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