The former head of the finance regulator has said the population decline is “not to be feared” as it will help the UK reach its climate goals.
Lord Adair Turner, former chairman of the Financial Services Authority, said a modest drop in the birth rate “would provide significant benefits for human welfare”.
Writing in a research paper, he argued that with the right government policy an aging population would not pose a threat to the economy.
Low birth rates and aging have often been seen as an impending crisis, with economists arguing that there will not be enough people to work and contribute to the economy of the future.
This, along with rising pension and health care costs, has made people concerned about shrinking populations and smaller families.
But the report Small families and aging populationArgued, this is good news.
It said the UK could cut 02m C2 emissions by some 38m tonnes – the equivalent of taking 19m cars off UK roads – by 2035 if its population drops to the same level as Japan.
In Japan, women give birth to an average of 1.36 children, down from 2.1 in 1974. In England and Wales the figure is 1.6.
By 2035, the Japanese population is set to decline 9.6 percent from 125m to 113.1m people. In contrast, the UK is projected to grow by 5.2 per cent over the same period to 71.1m people.
The report also stated that the declining population would eliminate the need for some 4m additional homes across the UK and could halt housing development on around 435,000 acres of land.
Lord Turner, in the report’s preface, said: “The biggest reason we have welcomed this demographic change is that it is the result of free choice by empowered people, and especially women.
“But halting endless population growth will also reduce humanity’s future pressures on the natural environment, lessen the challenge of adequate habitat provision, and make it easier for developing countries to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions while supporting prosperity growth. “
Robin Maynard, director of the charity Population Matters, criticized Elon Musk’s previous comments that “population collapse is potentially the greatest risk to future civilization”.
He said: “The female body is not an economic tool to provide cheap labor to the very wealthy and a growing supply of new consumers.
“An economy that ignores the environmental limits of our planet cannot provide long-term well-being.”
The report acknowledged that labor shortage will become an increasing problem with increasing age. But it argued that automation and migration in the workforce would be the key to tackling the issue.
It also called for incentives such as delaying retirement and increasing their personal tax-exempt allowance for hiring people.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /