The Times newspaper this morning runs a story with the misleading headline: “Migrants drive 50% rise in rough sleepers”.
In its article The Times reports on yesterday’s release of official statistics of numbers of homeless people sleeping outside during the autumn of 2016.
“More than 20 per cent of those identified as rough sleepers were foreigners. Separate figures gathered by outreach workers in London suggested that the majority of people sleeping rough in the capital were from overseas, with almost a third coming from Romania, Poland and Lithuania,” says the report.
The problem with this story is that nowhere in the statistics report released by the government does it claim that foreign nationals are the cause of the increase. The statistics report cannot claim this because it is the first time that nationality has actually been included in the information. So it cannot be compared with previous years.
The Times article also fails to mention that the London outreach figures only refer to the period April 2015 to March 2016.
The Times is behind the times because since March 2016 there have been two statistical releases that show a steady decline in overseas nationals sleeping rough in London.
In the latest London report it states that UK and Irish nationals make up 51 percent of the street homeless contacted by outreach teams during July to September 2016.
The largest and fastest growing group of street homeless in London are in fact UK nationals.