Anorak News | Numbers Are Just So Important When You’re Making A Point On Rough Sleepers

Numbers Are Just So Important When You’re Making A Point On Rough Sleepers

by | 17th, August 2011

NUMBERS are so important – especially when people are blithely throwing them around to make some political point or other.

Usually, the political point being that we should all send more tax money their way.

In fact, numbers are so important that it’s often necessary to try and work out where they come from. To, umm, see whether they make sense or whether they’re just yet another example of people blowing smoke.

For example, this letter to The Times:

Sir, Statistics indicate that 100,000 children sleep rough in the UK every night. Evicting rioters from their homes would only add to this shameful number and it would fall on already overstretched charities to protect them. It will also create a disaffected underclass as can be found in countries like Brazil and Mexico.

Trudy Davies
Co-Founder of the Consortium for Street Children charities (CSC)
Wimbledon SW19

As Natalie Solent points out, that sounds like a remarkably high number. But, you know, Trudy’s an expert and we should accept what experts tell us, right? Or maybe, perhaps, we should examine what experts tell us because they might be blowing smoke? How about this report from someone who is also part of that CSC?

The last rough sleeper count found only two under-18 year olds sleeping rough on the

Oh, right.

The 100,000 is the number of children who run away each year: spend a night at their friends without telling their parents and on up to really running away into sex slavery. The two number is our best guess at the number of children sleeping rough on any one night.

So Our Trudy is some 99,998 short of the number she quotes: or in short, Our Trudy is blowing smoke.

Which brings us back to why numbers are so important. Do not, ever, accept any number quoted at you by any politician or campaigner. No, they’re not all lying, not all of them all of the time, but that is the way to bet, that they are.


Posted: 17th, August 2011 | In: Money Comment | TrackBack | Permalink