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Cause of UK baby boom a mystery to midwives and Today

[21 Jan 2013] Most people acknowledge that the UK needs a certain level of controlled immigration. Yet the previous Government opened the borders to European immigration in 2004 and instead of the 20,000 incomers it predicted, official ONS figures say that about 700,000 turned up. Many have shown an exemplary work ethic and got stuck in to the jobs the locals won’t touch, while others have looked to the UK's free healthcare and relatively generous State benefits to make life bearable.

In some areas, especially in the east of England, the extra pressure on housing, schools and childcare has brought services to breaking point. And another wave of 50,000 people a year is expected to arrive in 2014, according to MigrationWatchUK, when Bulgarians and Romanians gain the unrestricted right to live and work here.

The 2011 Census estimated the UK population at 63.2 million, a rise of 7% or 400,000 a year since the 2001 Census. The roughly two million illegal migrants who exist in the grey economy don’t appear in these figures, obviously. Around 53 million people live cheek by jowl in England, the most crowded of the UK nations.

All this being so, you’d think ‘migration’ might just have been mentioned on the BBC’s flagship news programme ‘Today’ (Radio 4) this morning during an interview between presenter James Naughtie and the Royal College of Midwives’ chief executive Cathy Warwick. They were discussing the steep rise in the birth rate (688,120 born in England alone in 2011, the most since 1971). Warwick said the present Government had done ‘phenomenally well’ on maternity services but she banged the drum for a bigger budget to recruit and train more midwives. For once, the long-winded Naughtie asked a short and clear question.

Naughtie: ‘What is the fact that lies behind this boom?’
Warwick: ‘Well, we don’t really know…’

Er, don’t you? Are you sure? The pair then coyly implied that the birthrate was rising because women were choosing to have kids later. Maybe so, but there was no word from either of them about migration or the fact that foreign-born women tend to have more children. [cont]

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