As a follow-up to my recent post about space and population density . . .
The migrant crisis across Europe has highlighted where some nations are prepared to take large numbers of people and some are less keen.
I don’t know about the housing situation in Europe, but certainly in the UK we are already chronically short of houses, which drives up house prices and rents and forces people to live in unsuitable accommodation or rely on the state for assistance.
To agree to take thousands more people is only going to make that situation worse. If each Council in the Country agrees to help, that will dilute the problem to some extent and on the face of it taking, say, five families in each Borough doesn’t seem a massive ask. But I would make the following points;
- If five houses can be made available relatively easily and quickly in this instance, why hasn’t this been done for the families currently on housing waiting lists?
- Before we offer a house to a refugee family, perhaps we should ask those currently at the top of the waiting list for a house, who have probably been waiting years for a place of their own, if they mind being jumped in the queue.
- When will it end? Five families now, what happens in 3 months or 6 months or a year, when another million people have crossed into Europe spurred on by the (now real and actual) prospect of getting a house in the UK or elsewhere in Europe? Accommodating so many people now is going to INCREASE the numbers seeking to come here in the future.
- Once people are here and dispersed amongst councils, what is to stop them upping and moving to another Borough or Town where friends, relatives or fellow refugees are living – suddenly the numbers in some areas are going to spike massively while others will see requirements fall.
- The same applies to the allocation of refugees across the countries of Europe. Once they have paperwork and refugee status what will stop people moving from, say, Poland to Germany where prospects are better? Again the ‘fair’ distribution system collapses very quickly.
Of course we have an obligation to genuine asylum seekers and people escaping persecution, but we also have an obligation to the citizens of Britain – a story in the Mirror back in 2013 estimated that there were 9,000 ex-service personnel homeless and living on the streets.
Should these people not be a higher priority?