June 19 2013 Latest news:
Robin de Peyer
Monday, July 16, 2012
Tower Hamlets had the largest population increase of any local authority in England and Wales between 2001 and 2011, according to the latest Census report.
The borough’s population grew by 26.4 per cent from 201,100 to 254,100 in the 10 year period - more than twice the national increase of 12 per cent.
The largest age group in the borough is 25-29, with 40,200 people - an rise of 53 per cent in ten years. There are a total of 62,000 people below the age of 20, accounting for 15.8 per cent of the borough’s population, and just 15,500 over-65s, representing 6.1 per cent of people.
Tower Hamlets was one of only two local authorities in England and Wales with growth of more than 20 per cent, with Newham experiencing a 23.5 per cent increase.
Between 2005 and 2011, 12,463 new homes were built in the borough, with a further 43,275 due by 2025. Professor of Human Geography at Queen Mary University, Jane Wills, was concerned about the sustainability of such significant population increases.
She said: “The increase is a result of a combination of very rapid immigration alongside longer life spans, and higher birth-rates.
“There’s been a huge increase in demand on services, and at the same time the state is cutting back on service provision, so it does raise the question of how sustainable that growth rate is, especially when unemployment is so high.”
Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, assured residents that the council is equipped to deal with the challenges posed.
“We have known that the population figures have been increasing year on year and at a higher rate compared to London figures,” he said.
“Whilst I am of course concerned about the demands of supporting a growing population at a time of Government cuts, the council has had effective plans for growth in place.”
However, Conservative deputy leader councillor David Snowden, urged a break from the development which is causing the population increases.
“Tower Hamlets needs a development breathing space before the strain on health and education facilities becomes intolerable,” he said.