It is almost exactly a year since This Writer stated that our vermin own mansions and stately homes, and we send good people to live in the gutter. And you know what?
In the words of Theresa May: “Nothing has changed.”
Look at the state of this:
The boss of York-based housebuilder Persimmon is under increasing pressure to donate some of his £110m bonus to charity, as calculations reveal that his pay deal could be used to provide a council house for every homeless family in Yorkshire.
Jeff Fairburn, 53, who joined Persimmon as a trainee when he was 17, will on Sunday receive the first instalment of a £110m share bonus which has been criticised by politicians, charities and corporate governance experts as “obscene”.
The company’s chairman, Nicholas Wrigley, is understood to have suggested Fairburn donate some of the bonus – which has been largely fuelled by the taxpayer-backed help-to-buy scheme – to charity. Wrigley quit the company earlier this month, blaming himself for not doing more to cap the amount Fairburn could collect.
The Guardian has calculated, using government figures, that Fairburn’s £110m bonus could be used to build 1,375 council houses.
A donation of £4.6m – just 1/25th of Fairburn’s bonus – could provide a home for all of the 58 homeless families in York. It would cost £60.8m to build a home for all 760 homeless families in Yorkshire and Humber, leaving behind £49m for Fairburn.
This Writer cannot understand why anybody would need a bonus – remember, this is on top of his salary – of £110 million. How would they spend it, and on what?
The only possible reason for having that much cash is to keep it out of the hands of other people, it seems to me.
So the man in charge of Persimmon Homes is actually contributing to homelessness, when he could be housing every homeless person in Yorkshire and still have almost half his bonus in hand.
Meanwhile, elsewhere, we see this:
Almost 45,000 18 to 24-year-olds approached their local authority over the past year.
But, with more than 100 local authorities not providing information, the real numbers could well be much higher.
Businesses across Glasgow are being urged to help heat the homeless following the coldest night of the year.
Campaigners in the city are calling on cafes and restaurants to provide rough sleepers with hot water to keep them warm throughout the day.
Outreach workers from Help the Homeless Glasgow (HtH) have purchased 50 hot water bottles with donations from the public and are looking for help to fill them.
Following the death of 28-year-old Matthew Bloomer, who was sleeping rough outside a Glasgow department store last year, the group are keen to do as much as they can ahead of further cold weather.
The comment I made last year was not in response to the death of Matthew Bloomer, by the way – it referred to the death of a rough sleeper in Chatham, Kent.
The bitterest part of all this is that research suggests it is five times cheaper to house the homeless than it is to provide aid for them while they are living on the street.
This aid is provided at public expense, of course – so privateers like Jeff Fairburn won’t feel the pinch.
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