Britain has 'masses of room for more people'

Reports that a senior official at the government's economic forecasting body has said that Britain has 'masses of room' for more people feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Telegraph reports that Stephen Nickell, one of the leaders of the Office for Budget Responsibility, "said that the urban area of Surrey occupies less space than its golf courses as he rejected claims there was not enough room for migrants". The newspaper quotes Nickell saying: "One argument said we’re a small island, not much room. On the other hand, of course, there’s masses of room. The urbanised part of Britain occupies less than 10 per cent of the surface area. The urbanised part of Surrey occupies less of Surrey than golf courses. Since more immigrants mean more housing, more roads, more airports, more incinerators, more of this being required, and since the evidence would suggest that people by and large don’t like these things, especially if they are near them, that’s the key issue about immigration that people may wish to face up to".

The Guardian reports that chancellor George Osborne’s "surprise cut to stamp duty could lift house sales by 5 per cent over the next year, reversing a slowdown that has cooled surging price growth". The newspaper says the tax reform in the chancellor’s Autumn Statement last week "came as the housing market had begun to run out of steam following months of rising prices. But the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said its members expected the changes to boost sales across the country by 2 to 5 per cent, although expectations were more muted in London".

The Guardian also runs an obituary to a former director of housing charity Shelter. The newspaper says Chris Holmes "oversaw the housing charity’s rapid expansion".

The newspaper also runs an article on Manila in the Philippines where it says "supermalls" are the "very essence of urban living". The article says: "In the postwar years, Manila repurposed jeeps, those most utilitarian American vehicles, into an iconic, useful, and flamboyant form of transit. Today, in the same improvisational manner, it has repurposed malls, those most tired of all American structures, not by building them as a substitutes for the city, but by building them as the city itself".

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