John Simpson has questioned what Britain has become following a shocking investigation that revealed there has been a soaring number of homeless deaths in the UK over the last 12 months.
The journalist and author took to social media to lament “deeply shameful” statistics that show at least 449 homeless people died over the last year.
That is almost double the number of people who died between 2013 and 2017.
The figures produced by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) are the first attempt to catalogue the number of homeless people to die in a year.
The ages of the deceased ranged between 18 and 94, and 69 per cent of them were men.
What have we become? Between 2013 & 2017, at least 230 homeless people died on Britain’s streets. From 2017 to 2018, 440 homeless people have died – almost twice as many, in a quarter of the time. Deeply shameful.— John Simpson (@JohnSimpsonNews) October 8, 2018
Howard Sinclair, chief executive of homeless charity St Mungo’s, referred to the “entirely preventable” deaths as a “national scandal”.
The causes of death included assault, drug overdoses, illness, and suicide, but at least one of the deceased showed signs of prolonged starvation. Some bodies had gone undiscovered for so long that forensic tests were needed to identify the deceased.
TBIJ’s investigation, which was produced in conjunction with Channel 4 News, revealed the death toll could be significantly higher as there is no official definition of homelessness used by local authorities.
The organisation said that its figures for Scotland – where it reported 42 deaths – were particularly likely to be “a big underestimate”.