Low birth rates should be encouraged

I WAS aghast at the breath-taking foolishness of Alf Young’s article (Perspective, 17 August) calling for population growth in an over-populated world. Declining birth rates are a cause for celebration, not concern, yet he wants us to carry on breeding like there is no tomorrow.

He tells us that “a growing population is closely correlated with economic success”. Using that argument, Nigeria (population 162.5 million) should be more successful than Norway (five million). Both are oil-rich, yet the latter has twice the GDP.

However, the lower the birth rate, the more developed the country is likely to be. In short, the best places to live tend to be ones with low birth rates.

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The UK cannot grow enough to feed itself, its seas are over-fished, its roads congested, its housing unaffordable, it has 2.5 million unemployed, and it faces an energy generation crisis that only nuclear power can realistically address (and not in time). But Mr Young wants to burden us with yet more consumers of resources and producers of waste.

Maybe he thinks Scotland is a special case, with its lower population than the rest of the UK, but that is one of its great assets. Try visiting the Lake District or Yorkshire Dales on a warm summer Sunday, to see what the countryside is like in densely populated England.

A declining population means less demand for resources, less strain on infrastructure, education, the NHS and social services, less pollution, larger inheritances (fewer siblings to share with), more efficient agriculture as marginal land is taken out of production, cheaper and better housing, and so on through a long list of benefits.

And your letters page would not be so full of tiresome debates about wind turbines and reducing carbon emissions.

(Dr) Stephen Moreton

Marina Avenue

Great Sankey

Warrington, Cheshire

Scotland needs a population boom – unbelievably recommended by Alf Young – like it needs a revisitation of the bubonic plague.

Out of the farrago of statistics he served up, it can be observed that Scotland’s population has not moved at all since 2001, “sae let the Lord be thankit”, while in contrast human numbers in London have overwhelmingly increased by about 14 per cent.

The world crisis is one of unsubstainable population growth.

Population growth does not equate with economic success, another of Mr Young’s startling misconceptions, otherwise the ten poorest countries in the world would be the richest or at least richer than their present poverty.

It is just such logic or lack of it that spotlights the fantasy by which so many liberal ideologues are bewitched.

In this crisis our contribution here in Scotland, though small, should be to limit our numbers to those families that can provide for the proper nurture and education of their young without reliance on a state grievously overburdened by dependant elements and to limit entry on most selective conditions to all migrants.

Alastair Harper


by Dunfermline, Fife