Young face living at home longer, warns Brexit's Liam Fox

Liam Fox will blame rising rent costs and growing competition to buy homes on immigrants

Updated: 

Young face living at home longer, warns Brexit's Liam Fox

Young people will be forced to live with their parents for longer if the UK does not vote to leave the EU, a former Tory minister will claim.

The ex-defence secretary Liam Fox will blame rising rent costs and growing competition to buy homes on immigrants as he appeals to young people to vote for Brexit.

The Vote Leave campaigner will warn there is no "realistic possibility" that money will be found to fund the extra infrastructure needed to match immigration levels.

But major UK housing developers lined up to criticise Mr Fox's claim, insisting a damaging Brexit would instead stall the economy and the construction of new homes.

Mr Fox, who will deliver a speech at the campaign's office on Thursday morning, is expected to say: "Most new immigrants move into the private rented sector, which has grown as the immigrant population has grown.

"Competition for rented accommodation obliges all those in the private rented sector to pay high rents which take a large share of income and makes saving to buy a home even harder.

"These resulting high rents and a shortage of housing make it much more difficult for young people to set up home on their own so they have to spend more time in house shares or with their parents."

He will say: "The continuing failure of the Eurozone and the tragically high levels of unemployment in southern Europe is likely to mean that more and more young people will head to the north of Europe, including the UK, in search of work."

He will add: "If we remain in the EU, if we have uncontrolled migration year after year after year after year, you will find it harder to get a home of your own.

"You will find it harder to see a GP or you will find it harder to get a school place and you will see our green spaces disappear at an even greater rate."

Former cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith echoed his warning, urging the Prime Minister to explain how Britain would cope with immigration in the coming years.

Mr Duncan Smith said the Prime Minister had failed to impose limits on free movement of people from the EU.

He said: "He now needs to set out how he plans to limit pressures on our NHS, schools and the housing crisis we face.

"If we vote to stay in, this will get worse when Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey join the EU."

But bosses from home developers Hopkins Homes, Norfolk Homes, Crest Nicholson and L&Q warned that an economic downturn predicted in the event of a Brexit would hit the housing market.

James Hopkins, executive chairman of Hopkins Homes, said: "My greatest fear is that leaving the EU will exacerbate the housing crisis, bringing economic uncertainty and with it stagnation in the housing market.

"Instead of moving from 'generation rent' to 'generation buy' we could move to 'generation debt'."

Philip Makepeace, managing director of Norfolk Homes, added: "Many well respected economists, including the Bank of England, predict a recession will follow a vote to leave the European Union and nothing damages the UK house building industry as much as a recession does."

Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said "wrecking" the economy with a leave vote was not the right answer to concerns about immigration.

The Britain Stronger In Europe campaigner said: "Leaving would mean fewer jobs, higher prices and lower pay, making deposits harder or impossible to build up.

"And it means higher mortgage payments making first-time loans less affordable."

Vote Leave released the results of a poll suggesting voters are concerned about levels of immigration from the EU.

Almost half (49%) of those questioned said levels of migration from the other 27 EU nations had been bad for the UK, against 26% who thought they had been good. Some 58% said they would be unhappy if the influx continued at its current rate, compared with 16% who would not.

Most respondents said EU migration in the last decade had been bad for the NHS (55%), schools (58%), housing (67%), national security (54%) and jobs and wages (50%).

Three out of five (61%) said it would be bad for the UK if Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey joined the EU and 60% agreed the UK should take back control over deportation powers from the European Court.

Vote Leave challenged Mr Cameron to admit that his renegotiation of the UK's EU membership had done "nothing" to limit free movement of people or to limit pressures on hospital waiting times, class sizes or housing.

And the group demanded to know why the Government had agreed to pay almost £2 billion of British taxpayers' money into programmes to facilitate the accession of new EU states.

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