Her warning yesterday came as net migration reached record levels last year, rising to 606,000.
Speaking at the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship (ARC) conference yesterday, she said: “Unless fertility rate decline is reversed, we are heading for a future of certain economic stagnation or destabilising mass immigration. Or both.
“But we don’t need warnings about the future to alert us to decline.We can feel the social fabric fraying around us. At every level of society – families, neighbourhood, the nation – our social covenant – the shared understanding of identity and responsibility – is under strain.
“Nowhere is this strain more evident than in the erosion of family life.”
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Prime Minister Tony Blair opened immigration floodgates between 1997 and 2010 when net migration to the UK quadrupled.
There were 605,479 live births in England and Wales in 2022, a 3.1 per cent decrease from 624,828 in 2021 and the lowest number since 2002.
Ms Cates also warned family breakdown has become an “epidemic”.
She said nearly half of British children are experiencing the “dissolution” of their parents’ relationship.
Ms Cates added: “The impact of family breakdown on children is profound,
“For children it is the single biggest predictor of poor teen mental health and correlated with worse outcomes in every aspect of adult life.
“The support of extended family has been weakened and loneliness increased as young people have moved away from their communities.
“One in seven British adults now take antidepressants and suicide is the most common cause of death for young men.
“Our families are in crisis, and the social fabric of our neighbourhoods is also unravelling”.
Ms Cates also said children believing they can change their gender is a consequence of the “fraying of our social fabric.”
She has backed the Daily Express’ Protect Women’s Rights crusade which demands women are given greater safeguards in what has become a toxic clash with trans extremists.
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Speaking in London yesterday, she said: “In a number of other different trends -soaring childhood obesity, smartphone addiction, children believing they can change their gender or those who are addicted to violent pornography – we see the consequences for children of the fraying of our social fabric.”
Ms Cates and fellow MP Danny Kruger, who is set to appear at the ARC conference, have expressed concern about sex education and claimed parents are prevented from knowing what their children are being taught.
Ms Cates also used her speech to warn that a reluctance to prosecute petty crimes, such as shoplifting, and a failure to integrate immigrants have “eroded social trust”.
Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch will appear at the conference today, followed by Housing Secretary Michael Gove tomorrow.
Other guests include recently-elected US House of Representatives speaker Mike Johnson, Tory MP Danny Kruger and former Australian prime ministers Scott Morrison, Tony Abbott and John Howard.
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