Housing in Wales: Time for Honesty

As regular readers will be aware, I have recently focused on planning and housing in Wales, more specifically, the data being used to forecast how many new homes Wales will ‘need’ over the next couple of decades. What I have learnt is that the forecasts produced in the name of the ‘Welsh’ Government bear little relation to the data supplied by the Office for National Statistics nor to any genuine Welsh need. This is because those producing the forecasts are serving agendas that have nothing to do with meeting Wales’ housing needs.

Before proceeding, a brief recap might save you having to refer to recent posts too regularly. The raw data is, as I’ve mentioned, produced by the ONS. This comes in the form of the 2011 census findings and subsequent population projections. The ONS however does not produce household projections – i.e. the number of new homes that will need to be built – this is “sourced” to the Department for Communities and Local Government in London. In Wales, household projections are made by a unit calling itself Knowledge and Analytical Services, which answers to the DCLG in London. These figures are then used by the Planning Inspectorate, an ‘executive agency’ of the DCLG. Both claim to have some separate Welsh existence, and to answer to the ‘Welsh’ Government. This is absolute bollocks.

Carl SargeantThe figures produced by the KAS and PI underpin the Local Development Plans currently being forced through and also the Housing (Wales) Bill (see recent posts) which deals specifically with social and rented housing. This means that all plans for new housing in Wales are concocted by civil servants answering to a UK / England government department. These machinations are then presented as a fait accompli to Carl Sargeant, the ‘Welsh’ Government Minister for Housing and Regeneration, whose role in the whole squalid affair is limited to saying what civil servants tell him to say.

On January 5th I wrote to the Stats Housing unit in Cardiff asking how a projected population increase (ONS) of 357,000 between 2008 and 2033 could explain a need for 331,168 extra households being predicted by KAS, bearing in mind that the projected household size doesn’t fall below 2.0. This is even more difficult to explain when we remember that both projections, household size and household numbers, are made by the same people. Read the exchange below or click here to download it.

As you can see, the response came from a Tony Whiffen, who works for the ‘Demography, Heritage and Equalities Statistics unit of the Knowledge and Analytical Services unit of the ‘Welsh’ Government. My first thought was, ‘Seeing as demographic change in Wales invariably means the destruction of Welsh identity and heritage you have to be a real joker to link demography and heritage like that’. Anyway, Mr Whiffen’s defence seems to be that household projections are accounted for by a) predicted levels of in-migration; b) a great increase in the number of (i) people living alone or (ii) childless couples; and c) a big increase in the number of elderly people. This is supposed to explain the increase of 331,168 new households for a projected population increase of only 357,000. Now, you can accept that, or you can – like me – be a little more sceptical.

Because if Mr Whiffen is right, and the Planning Inspectorate acts on his group’s predictions, then most of the new properties planned for Wales would be one- and two-bedroom properties, bungalows and flats. Yet Mr Whiffen’s argument is fatally undermined by the Planning Inspectorate and its Local Development Plans when we see, in Carmarthen, Bodelwyddan and all over the country, schemes for thousands of new three- and four-bedroom houses, schools, and other amenities for a more ‘balanced’ population.

In the final paragraph of Mr Whiffen’s e-mail he admits that, Since then (the 2008 projections) the 2011 Census has shown that average household size has not fallen as much as projected . . . we are currently working on a new set of household projections and these will take into account the results of the 2011 Census. These will be based on the 2011-based Local Authority Population Projections for Wales and are due to be published in February.” Which looks promising, until we remember . . .

1/ These new figures will be compiled by the same people – Knowledga and Analytical Services – that wants us to believe in a population increase attributable almost entirely to people living alone. Telling us that while we can trust the data produced by the ONS the same cannot be said of those using the reputation of the ONS to make insane extrapolations.

2/ Mr Whiffen says that “we are currently working on a new set of household projections  . . . based on the 2011-based Local Authority Population Projections for Wales”, which predict a population increase for Wales of 269,777 between 2011 and 2036. But why use the 2011-based figures rather than the more recent – and reliable – ONS figures of 2012? Simple. The 2011 figures are of course the work of the KAS and predict a higher increase in population.


Local Development Plans and the Housing (Wales) Bill have little to do with housing (certainly with housing us Welsh), and all to do with attracting into Wales as many English settlers as possible. It is part of a wider colonisation strategy. Why? Well, this has been happening in one form or another since the national awakening of the 1960s, but it took on extra urgency when we voted for devolution, twice. With Scotland voting on independence in September it becomes essential for our masters to ‘secure’ Wales. There is no better way of doing this – proven throughout history – than by populating a territory with one’s own people.

What is sad is that many Welsh will be willing participants in this process, for a number of reasons. One is Owen Jones, a director at Boyer Planning. According to British Bullshit in the Colony of Wales, aka BBC Wales, plans have been submitted to Denbighshire county council by Barwood Land and Estates to build 1,700 new homes near Bodelwyddan. Boyer Planning acts as ‘advisers’ to Barwood (who, despite what the BBC Wales report says, are based in Northampton not Cardiff).

Though let me make it absolutely clear that I am in awe of Owen Jones. For what I have quoted in the second paragraph of the panel reveals a talent for bare-faced lying that takes my breath away. Anyone who can keep a straight face while saying that trebling the size of Bodelwyddan will not change it is a man to be watched. Very carefully.

Because Welsh identity is under threat from so many quarters, defending who and what we are must take precedence over everything else. These current housing plans are a deliberate assault on our identity. They seek to make Wales less Welsh. They are another step in the ongoing process of assimilating Wales into England. They must be fought by anyone who cares about Welsh nationhood.

From now on Wales must plan for no more housing than we Welsh need. Housing plans must not be based on earlier, and undesirable, levels on immigration. And they should certainly not be formulated to encourage downsizers, commuters, white flighters or any other category from England. Fight these plans! Make Bodelwyddan a new Tryweryn!

Lose this fight and everything is lost. 

15 thoughts on “Housing in Wales: Time for Honesty

  1. Jac

    I’ll throw another consideration into the mix, one I’ve observed at first hand. Many elderly people move straight into retirement homes or nursing homes in the area where I live. This is the major reason why from Barmouth to Aberdyfi two thirds of the over 65s were born in England. http://bit.ly/18MIN14 Other areas must experience this phenomenon.

    These elderly people obviously contribute to the population increase (and the age structure), but little or nothing to the household statistics . . . unless, because they have their own room in the home, they are counted as living alone? Might be worth checking on that.

    1. Daley Gleephart

      How will household size grow?
      The parents will die at some stage leaving the property to a lone male or brothers.

      The proposed legislation is flawed because it doesn’t, amongst other things, take into account young people with children.

      1. Jac

        I can remember, when I was a kid, no one left the parental home unless they a) got a job ‘away’, b) got married, c) joined the forces. If a girl got pregnant then, then unless the father of the child married her, she stayed at home, unless she moved in with a relative, often a grandmother.

        Then things changed. Until very recently any teenager could say he / she wasn’t happy at home and money would appear for him / her to have a flat. A girl gets pregnant and she gets a flat. Elderly relatives who, in earlier times, would have been cared for at home, now live in flats, bungalows, sheltered accommodation.

        Which means that the average household size has steadily decreased over the past 50 years while the benefits bill has soared. But the bill for housing and other benefits is now unsustainable, which is why things are set to change, and the decline in household size will be arrested.

        Yes, I know a lot of benefits are paid to the ‘working poor’, but that’s a separate issue, and doesn’t really influence household size.

        1. Daley Gleephart

          Yes. The rich man in his castle
          The poor man at his gate
          Most people who receive Housing Benefit work so what does that say about current wage levels and rents?

          Despite what you say, household size is more affected by income than any other factor.

          I note that although I mentioned young people with children, you’ve answered with the single mother stock answer.

          Hey! What about the Bates Motel model? Norman could look after his mum in the old house and others could stay at the chalets. That would solve it.

        2. Red ²

          Were the right of centre happy with that situation? Like Hell they were.
          Moaning about how much they have to pay in Rates for their 5 bedroomed detached house when, across the invisible border, Mr & Mrs Bloggs with their two adult working children live in a Council flat and hardly pay panything when it’s divided up between all four wage earners. Bring in a Poll Tax, Mrs T. and that way we can start to grind people down to powder.

  2. Iestyn

    Hi Jac.

    It doesn’t take away from the thrust of your posting, but actually the maths does work out. As you say, the increase in households is almost the same as the increase in population, which looks suspicious to say the least, but when you consider that the household average of 2.27 or 2.02 is spread over the whole of the housing in Wales, it makes more sense.

    So, take the number of households in Wales in 2011 (1.3 million according to ONS) and divide by 2.27, you get 2.95 million of population. Add on 357000 increase, to get 3,307 million. Divide that by 2.02, and hey presto, 1.64 million households, or an increase of 340,000. the figures aren’t exact, but they are in the same ball park.

    As you say though, this isn’t natural growth in population. It’s just as dangerous to Wales whether it adds up or not!

    1. Jac

      It’s late and I don’t have time to deal with the wider or more complex issues but, first off, I must point out that the 2.02 household figure is only applicable at the end of the period. Household figures are higher for earlier years in the 25-year cycle, which obviously works against the DCLG and your defence of it.

      Further, to argue that this increase in population correlates with a massive reduction in household size, manifest in a huge increase in people living alone and childless couples, is exposed for the self-serving bollocks it is when the Planning Inspectorate – using the same DCLG figures – pushes through LDPs, such as Bodelwyddan, demanding family dwellings with schools, etc. They can’t have it both ways.

      1. Daley Gleephart

        It’s not ‘only applicable at the end’. It’s based on current trends resulting in a gradual decrease in household size. The projection could be wrong – Who knows how long the FIAT currency farce will last.
        Who are the “They” who can’t have it both ways? I didn’t realise that this grand plan involves people ceasing to procreate immediately and those with children not moving to newly built houses.

        1. Jac

          If you’re projecting household size over a 25-year period, in which household size is predicted to drop from 2.27 to 2.02, then it’s obviously going to screw the calculations if you use the 2.02 figure for the whole period. Wake up at the back, that boy!

      2. Iestyn

        Hi Jac. I certainly didn’t intend to “defend” the figures – the whole situation stinks, and your hiliting of the situation, and identifying the lies, the pointed choices of statistics etc is hugely valuable. I just wanted you to be aware that while you are chasing sources and shooting down arguments, there’s not much point going after the maths of it, because it’s the only thing in the whole situation that actually stacks up!

        In other words, we need to attack the predictions – the fact that we are seen as England’s overflow, the likelihood of Welsh needs leading to the 2.02 figure vs the pensioner migration causing such a big drop etc (which as i understand it is exactly what youare saying). But there’s no point attacking the maths, because using their population and household composition predictions, in 25 years time, there *will* be a need for 340,000 new houses – that is correct.

        1. Jac

          I didn’t mean to be too critical, I’d had a few drinky-poos last night.

          Anyway, let’s look at the census 2011 figures, the hard evidence. On census night 2011 the population of Wales was 3,065.500 and the number of households was 1,302,700. This gives us an average household size of 2.35.

          Yet the statisticians of the Knowledge and Analytical Services, in their 2008-based projections tell us that household size in Wales in 2008 was 2.27 dropping steadily to 2.02 in 2033. For 2011 they predicted a household size of 2.23, .12 below the true figure.

          The e-mail from Tony Whiffen that I used in my most recent post concedes this point, saying, “Since then the 2011 Census has shown that average household size has not fallen as much as projected but it is currently hard to say how future changes in age structure of the population or recent household formation trends will affect projected household numbers. Nevertheless we are currently working on a new set of household projections and these will take into account the results of the 2011 Census. These will be based on the 2011-based Local Authority Population Projections for Wales and are due to be published in February.”

          So there will be revised figures out next month. The great reservation I have is that Mr Whiffen and his colleagues plan to use the 2011-based Local Authority Population Projections which say Wales will see an increase of 269,777 between 2011 and 2036. Yet there is a later projection that says Wales will see a population increase of only 247,000 between 2012 and 2037. The 2011 figures are the work of Mr Whiffen and his colleagues while the 2012 figure comes from the ONS.

          Do you see a pattern here? The KAS always over-estimates population increase, underestimates household size, and thereby ‘justifies’ the building of unnecessary housing.

  3. The Judge

    The reality behind it all is that we are being Latvianised.

    After Latvia was handed over as a captive to Stalin in 1940, the Russian Soviet Empire forcibly removed tens, perhaps thousands, of Latvians to other parts of the Empire, replacing them with Russians.

    When Latvia liberated itself just over twenty years ago, it found itself with a large and arrogant Russian minority which had made no attempt to assimilate (because it was part of Russia, don’tcha know?) and which was full of a sense of their own entitlement. Dealing with that large population of settlers and fifth columnists has been an unwanted distraction as it tries to rebuild its identity.

    The method used in Cymru’s case has been – and continues to be – economic rather than actual physical force, but the aim and the results are the same.

    1. Jac

      The methods may vary from the Baltic to the Balkans to Wales, but the objective remains the same – to overwhelm or remove a minority group and replace it with members of the dominant group.

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