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Dickensian Britain

(80 Posts)
westendgirl Sun 03-Dec-23 12:29:25

I have just read a piece in the Sunday Times about a school in Peckham where 4 in 5 of the pupils are homeless.The school is providing breakfast, lunch and dinner and is collecting food,second hand clothing and helping in every way they can.
The stories told are heart breaking. This should not be happening , surely?

westendgirl Sun 03-Dec-23 12:30:16

Sorry the question mark should not be there in the title.

Ilovecheese Sun 03-Dec-23 12:44:28

If we had a Government that cared about the people it supposedly represents then it wouldn't be happening.
But hey, that's what we voted for.

Oreo Sun 03-Dec-23 12:51:03

Homeless means living in temporary housing or B &B doesn’t it? Are the numbers bumped up by asylum seeking families and those here legally like Afghans who are waiting for permanent housing? London social housing has been a problem for a while and yet more and more people coming to live there, a real problem for any council there.

Cabbie21 Sun 03-Dec-23 12:57:25

I don’t think so, Oreo; the article talks about families, often fleeing from domestic abuse, who are sofa surfing, in hostels or temporary accommodation, not knowing where they will be moved to next, often travelling miles to get to this school, which is an absolute haven of security for them.

BlueBelle Sun 03-Dec-23 15:29:11

I would believe it ….many Landlords are either quitting or putting the rents up so high leaving families high and dry
Many years ago it happened to my Mum and Dad when the landlord gave them a month to get out as he wanted the flat for himself. they were both still working and luckily found a flat very nearby and very soon but it’s far, far harder now They had been model renters for about 15 years and believed it to be their home for ever they were terrible upset especially at the speed of it all

ronib Sun 03-Dec-23 22:43:31

Is this school the Harris Academy?
From one point of view, the current government seems to be acting in a bubble and is disconnected from the economic misery and suffering in some communities. I guess community initiatives are the best hope for disadvantaged families and it’s impressive that this school is trying to help. Better than not.

nanna8 Sun 03-Dec-23 23:15:12

The sad conclusion is that the governments are more interested in looking after themselves and those who share the same social dynamic. They only care about the disadvantaged and poorer people insofar as they might win them votes. That applies across the board but particularly to the Tory ones who have always followed Thatcher’s credo of there being no such thing as society. Not that the other mob are that much better.

maddyone Sun 03-Dec-23 23:56:27

If the families are homeless, does that mean they’re living in bed and breakfast accommodation?
Basically there aren’t enough houses/flats as there are people wanting them. The answer should be to build more houses, but for some reason that I don’t understand, we don’t.
Obviously this problem will be exacerbated with three quarters of a million people arriving last year and large numbers arriving every year. Everyone has to live somewhere but if there aren’t enough properties, where do they live?

Curtaintwitcher Mon 04-Dec-23 06:56:26

This is the reason why there used to be workhouses. The idea may horrify decent people, but at least the destitute had a roof over their heads. There are plenty of empty warehouses and disused mills in the country. I'm surprised that local authorities haven't already brought them into use to provide temporary homes for those who need them.

Mogsmaw Mon 04-Dec-23 07:59:44

maddyone

If the families are homeless, does that mean they’re living in bed and breakfast accommodation?
Basically there aren’t enough houses/flats as there are people wanting them. The answer should be to build more houses, but for some reason that I don’t understand, we don’t.
Obviously this problem will be exacerbated with three quarters of a million people arriving last year and large numbers arriving every year. Everyone has to live somewhere but if there aren’t enough properties, where do they live?

I watched a fascinating documentary on the housing crisis that explained why they don’t build houses.
It’s because of the house-price inflation that is baked in. The housbuilder commits to building (say) 100 houses, they complete 10 they sell for %100. Delay finishing the next 10 which sell for %110. Next 10 for %121 almost guaranteed!
The big house builders profits come from inflation not selling completed properties. It’s breathtaking in its simplicity and cynicism.

Cadenza123 Mon 04-Dec-23 08:01:52

It's a shocking state of affairs for one of the world's richest countries. It's a visible effect of what's happening in society generally with the very rich getting richer and the poorest suffering. The bottom line is that there's not the political will or interest.

MaizieD Mon 04-Dec-23 08:20:49

Cadenza123

It's a shocking state of affairs for one of the world's richest countries. It's a visible effect of what's happening in society generally with the very rich getting richer and the poorest suffering. The bottom line is that there's not the political will or interest.

Now, why do we think that the rich are getting richer and the poor getting poorer?

Is it some moral failing in the poor (which, if we're going to talk about workhouses, is what the Victorians believed), or is it something to do with an economic system which ensures that money flows upwards from the poor to the rich?

Germanshepherdsmum Mon 04-Dec-23 09:21:43

The situation in Southwark, where the secondary school featured in the article is situated, is acknowledged in the article to be ‘extreme’. It says that in Southwark 24.5 per 1000 households were in temporary accommodation (so classed as homeless) compared with 16.5 in London as a whole and 2.2 in the rest of the country. The average house price in the borough is £783,142, prices there having risen at twice the rate of the UK as a whole since 2000, and rent is £1800 pcm.

Whilst things are pretty dire for these families and the school is doing an excellent job looking after them, this article is by its author’s admission focusing on an extreme situation. The parents interviewed were single mothers, a part time catering assistant and a cleaner. It is hard to see how families whose head is on a very low income can be permanently housed in such a very expensive inner city area. Nevertheless Southwark has the highest rate of council house building in the country with 726 houses being started in 2020/1 - something the article didn’t mention. www.southwark.gov.uk/news/2023/may/southwark-council-is-building-one-third-of-england-s-council-homes#:~:text=Of%202%2C234%20council%20homes%20started,building%20programme%20in%20the%20country.

Witzend Mon 04-Dec-23 09:37:09

One reason for the high prices of the many thousands of new build flats in London is that relatively wealthy foreign nationals are allowed to buy as investments and simply leave them empty.

Not long ago a Dane he met at one of his annual professional gatherings, told dh that in Denmark foreigners are not allowed to buy property at all. The reason being (so he said) was that if they were allowed to, Germans would buy up so much, especially anywhere near their long coastline.

But of course they can’t give that as a reason (apart from anything else, it’d be against EU law) so the ban simply includes all non-Danes, instead.
Pity nobody ever thought of such a law here!

Germanshepherdsmum Mon 04-Dec-23 09:53:00

Foreign buyers have to pay a 2% stamp duty surcharge when buying UK property, in addition to the extra 3% payable by any buyer who owns another property anywhere in the world. So at least that brings some extra money into the Treasury.

MaizieD Mon 04-Dec-23 10:38:40

Germanshepherdsmum

Foreign buyers have to pay a 2% stamp duty surcharge when buying UK property, in addition to the extra 3% payable by any buyer who owns another property anywhere in the world. So at least that brings some extra money into the Treasury.

I suspect that the homeless (and those of us of a more liberal tendency) would be more impressed by the extra money going to the Treasury for the purchase of empty properties if the government did something with it that would alleviate homelessness.

Germanshepherdsmum Mon 04-Dec-23 10:41:49

As you well know Maizie, it just goes into the pot along with all other tax receipts. However, as you always say, taxation doesn’t fund spending, does it?

MaizieD Mon 04-Dec-23 11:32:21

I don't quite see how your last comment is relevant, GSM.

It appears that no amount of extra money going to the Treasury is going to make any difference to the situation of the homeless, so why bother to even mention it?

To me there's something rather Scrooge like implicit in rubbing gleeful hands together over all that extra money going to the Treasury while 24% 0f local families are homeless and unhelped by government.

Dickensian indeed...

Germanshepherdsmum Mon 04-Dec-23 11:51:55

My comment was a response to witzend’s post concerning the purchase of property by non-UK nationals. No rubbing gleeful hands together.

24 in 1000 is not 24%.

I guess saying that taxation doesn’t fund spending is only relevant when you’re saying it?

TerriBull Mon 04-Dec-23 11:56:22

I read the article, an appalling situation for families to be in, I wish there was more effort in putting these domestic issues to the fore as an absolute priority. Housing or lack of it is a number one problem a perfect storm of more people chasing a lack of affordable rental property, thanks George Osborne! why have politicians so little foresight his efforts made umpteen landlords withdraw their properties from the market and as a result rents have sky rocketed.

Peckham, Brixton and Camberwell have become desirable areas for the 20/30 somethings to move to, thus squeezing the stretched rental market further. My son after university and before he got together with his girlfriend and bought a house way out in Bucks, rented a house with some uni mates in Peckham. Similarly a couple of my husband's grown up grandchildren after university gravitated to Brixton/Camberwell. Their generations love those areas now.

Germanshepherdsmum Mon 04-Dec-23 12:03:13

What could a single mother working part time as a cleaner hope to be able to afford in that area, unless she was given a house rent-free plus benefits?

MaizieD Mon 04-Dec-23 12:11:43

I guess saying that taxation doesn’t fund spending is only relevant when you’re saying it?

WRT 'relevance' I was referring to the money the Treasury is getting from the property sales to non residents foreigners.

As taxation doesn't fund spending the government could indeed invest in doing something about homelessness, but that's a different discussion, isn't it?

Grandma70s Mon 04-Dec-23 12:12:03

My son lives in Camberwell. His children went to private junior schools, but are now at state secondary schools, where a large number of children have free school:meals. (Not the Harris Academy.) There is a wide social mix in their schools, from the very well-off to the very poor.

MaizieD Mon 04-Dec-23 12:17:12

There is a wide social mix in their schools, from the very well-off to the very poor.

That sounds like a healthy community, Grandma70s.