IN THE latest tale of woe brought to you by the Guardian we are told, bluntly, that for one family ‘there is nowhere to go’. This was the sad fate of a family of six ‘made homeless in the UK housing crisis’.
Loyal readers should know where this is going. Alexandra Topping reports: ‘When Colin and Gemma Booth were told a little over a year ago they would have to find somewhere else to live after the owner of the flat they rented in Ventnor on the Isle of Wight died, they didn’t panic. “We thought it was a push to find a bigger place,” says Gemma, as Quinton, eight, Phoenix, seven, Amity, three, and Oberon, 22 months, vie for attention around her. “We had no idea what was coming.” Fourteen months later, they have lived in a holiday chalet, a single room, a caravan and now a small two-bedroom flat with no oven. Most of their stuff is still in storage.
‘Sitting in their spotless, if crowded, living room, they still look shellshocked at joining the more than 100,000 families in England, including more than 125,000 children, living in temporary accommodation, the highest figure in 20 years.’
The problem was that rents had doubled in the four and a half years since they last looked for accommodation ‘from under £500 to almost £1,000 a month’.
With a day to go before they had to leave their home, the council housed them in a holiday chalet, then a one-room flat. ‘After eight weeks, again with a day’s notice, they were moved to a caravan with a leaking roof for three months, before finally being temporarily housed in a small two-bedroom flat in Newport in October, where they have been ever since.’
I don’t know how you can live in a caravan with a leaky roof with four children for 12 weeks, but somehow they did it.
Now a quick search tells me, that according to the Office for National Statistics, whose numbers are ‘experimental’ and based on modelling (!) ‘Total long-term immigration was estimated at around 1.2million in 2022, and emigration was 557,000, which means migration continues to add to the population with net migration at 606,000; most people arriving to the UK in 2022 were non-EU nationals (925,000), followed by EU (151,000) and British (88,000).’
It is true that some of these are students who will eventually leave and others were in genuine humanitarian need, like those arriving from Ukraine and Hong Kong. However I believe that if there is literally ‘nowhere to go’ for a family of six, and there are 100,000 families in England living in temporary accommodation, then adding an extra 1.2million people is not going to improve the housing situation.
As for the half a million who left, some will retain their homes, I’m guessing. I just don’t believe that those half a million people leaving the UK are replenishing the housing stock. But maybe I’m wrong.
It’s true the housing shortage is due to many reasons: not enough houses have been built, too many houses are bought and left empty, and the Bank of England have had to increase interest rates which has been passed on to private renters to control inflation caused partly by the Covid funny money bonanza.
But I also know the law of supply and demand. In short, the hypocrisy of policy-makers and journalists who advocate for open borders and then wail about the house crisis is sickening, as I wrote on Wednesday in TCW. If there is nowhere for families like the Booths to go, why are we taking in 1.2million more people?
The father in this piece said: ‘So many more people are going to get caught up in our type of homelessness, through no fault of their own. It feels like the water is rising, but all the lifeboats are full.’ The boats certainly are full off the coast of Kent, with people with an even greater need for housing than Colin, his wife and four children.