UK population sees “biggest surge since records began”

The population of England and Wales is booming, according to the national census.

The census, carried out by the Office for National Statistics, showed that the number of households in England and Wales grew by 1.7 million from 2001 to 23.4 million last year. But at the same time, the population surged by 4 million to hit 56.1 million, "its biggest surge since records began", reports The Telegraph .

But this growth has left the country with not enough houses to meet demand.

Kay Boycott, director of policy and campaigns at housing charity Shelter, told the Telegraph: "It's no surprise that there's a low increase in the numbers of new households being formed. Everyday Shelter hears from young people who are unable to move out of home, or have had to move back, because they can't afford sky high rents let alone the deposits required to buy."

"This government urgently needs to take decisive action to build more affordable housing so that young people now and in the future can afford to move out, start their own lives and begin families of their own," added Boycott.

Others argue that the severe shortage would still be a problem even without the population growing.

 "There is a drastic shortage of genuinely affordable housing," commented John Marais of Defend Council Housing. "It's the failure of governments past and present to build genuinely affordable houses. If there had been a reasonable rate of building houses we would be in a position where we could cope with these sorts of population rises."

 The figures following findings that young Brits are increasingly living with their parents, or heavily relying upon the bank of mum and dad to fund deposits to purchase their first property.