Here’s a story to warm the cockles of even Scrooge’s heart as we contemplate the 130,000 children who will be in temporary accommodation this Christmas. Isn’t the British welfare state doing well in clearing up the potential problem of homelessness?
Yes, we know, we take some stick around here for repeatedly mentioning Worstall’s Fallacy. That we need to take account of what we already do to solve a problem before we can decide how much more we need to do. For example, food banks. These are a solution to people not having food which is great. For of course we like people without food to have food.
Which is the way we need to look at these numbers:
One in every 103 children in the UK will be homeless this Christmas, a new study has found, further revealing the scale of the country’s housing crisis. A total of 131,000 children are now estimated to be homeless — around 50,000 more than five years ago, or a rise of 59% — according to an analysis of government statistics by homelessness charity Shelter.
Well, yes, that’s Shelter so of course it’s great big dangly bits and hairy ones at that. The statement simply isn’t true. We’ve perhaps 5,000 rough sleepers on any one night across the country. Which doesn’t really leave room for 130,000 children to be doing it.
More than 130,000 children across Great Britain will spend Christmas in temporary accommodation, official figures suggest. One in every 103 under-18s is officially homeless, a 59% rise in five years, housing charity Shelter said.
There’s the confusion in the numbers. Amazingly, it’s The Guardian that gets the headline right:
130,000 homeless children to be in temporary lodgings over Christmas
The correct way to read this story therefore. There are 130,000 children out there who could be huddling under the public tree in the middle of the town square this Christmas. Instead we’ve instituted the welfare state which makes sure that all of these 130,000 are in fact inside, a roof over their heads, with running water and all those other lovely accoutrements of civilisation.
This is a victory for that welfare state we have, not as Shelter has it some disaster that must be rectified. We’re doing rather a lot about this already, aren’t we.