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Millions of homes must be built

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Five million new homes will be required in England alone over the next 20 years, 1.5 million of them because of record levels of immigration, according to Government figures.

The number of households in England is projected to increase by more than a fifth, from 20.9 million in 2003 to 25.7 million by 2026, according to the latest projections published by John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister.

If translated into new homes built, this would mean the loss of more than 368 square miles of countryside, an area the size of the West Midlands conurbation, in 20 years. That is a rate of urbanisation of 16 square miles a year.

Around 60% of the growth forecast is within the greater South-East.

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