UKIP have repeatedly warned about the cost of mass uncontrolled immigration and the enormous pressure it puts on housing and public services. Now it could cost us more of our precious green belt.

According to reports from the Sunday papers, Chancellor Philip Hammond is looking to reform the planning system by allowing building on the green belt to help more young people get on the housing ladder in an attempt to resolve the housing crisis in high-demand areas. The Chancellor is expected to use this month’s budget to suggest reclassifying some of the protected countryside.

In response to the news UKIP’s Environment spokesperson, Dr Julia Reid MEP, said: “If the Tories are thinking that they can solve the housing crisis by simply sacrificing more of our beloved green belt they are hugely mistaken. It’s like trying to put out a forest fire with a few buckets of water.”

“According to the think tank, Migration watch, 300 homes will need to be built each day, or a new home every five minutes, to cope with current levels of migration. This also means building new schools, new hospitals, and new roads, all at the detriment to our natural environment.

“The only way to solve the housing crisis is by implementing a sensible migration policy, however, judging by the Tories’ recent policy announcements and previous track records, it doesn’t look like we’re going to get one anytime soon.

Despite previously suggesting that the cut-off date for Europeans looking to settle in the UK would be March 2017, the date article 50 was triggered, it now looks as though the cut-off point has been moved to March 2019. This will only exacerbate the problem as it’s likely that additional migrants will seek to come to the UK before the cut-off date.

It’s clear that the Tories never had any intention of honouring their ‘tens of thousands’ net immigration pledge, in fact, net immigration is now running much higher under the Tories than it was under Labour. The only way we’ll ever see a sensible migration policy introduced will be with a UKIP Government in Parliament.

Dr Reid added: “Even if the Government does go about ‘liberalising planning restrictions,’ and sacrificing up our greenbelt, it won’t have any effect on the housing crisis as according to CPRE’s research, even when Greenfield land is released for development, it rarely results in faster building rates, so the sacrifice of our irreplaceable greenbelt will be in vain.”