Homelessness in Britain is up by 14%.
Funny isn't it, since millions of us have actually moved abroad in the last generation. And those who can't afford rents can claim housing benefit. Yet homelessness continues to rise.
Andrew Smith says that the answer is to build more "affordable homes". But that will never work so long as we have a completely open-border no-limits policy on immigration. For every million houses you build, two or three million people can walk in from all over the world and claim them. There are a billion citizens of the EU who all have a perfect right to come here and only one million UK citizens who have homes in other EU countries. Most of them don't work - they are retired people. Your Gran and Grandad in Spain make up a lot of that million. If Andrew Smith means local councils building council houses, the fact is that they simply haven't got the money.
The Conservative government thinks that the answer is to make squatting a criminal offence. At the moment it is only a civil matter. Home-owners have to take the squatters to the local county court and get them evicted. If it becomes a criminal offence, they will be able to just send the police in. What would be the result of that? More people sleeping on the streets? More people crowded into tiny substandard homes? The Libdems in the coalition have got no solutions at all to offer.
There are always plans to build more new towns in the South of the country - but this over-crowding has led to a chronic shortage of water. We cannot all live in the same place. The more people who live in England, the more food will have to be imported using aeroplanes and heavy lorries. Yet the government and EU policy is to penalize and tax these forms of transport, for their CO2 emissions. We face a dilemma here - if we want to reduce reliance on petrol-powered transport we cannot ALSO squash more inhabitants into the South of England.
We need a coherent policy, not one that goes round in circles.
Yes, I think more homes should be built - but built in Poland or Slovenia. Build them in Nigeria or wherever else they are needed. Let British companies get contracts to build homes all over the world and make the people who are benefitting from those projects find the money.