Homeless at Christmas: 'How will Santa find us?' – BBC News

Homeless at Christmas: ‘How will Santa find us?’ – BBC News

These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption ‘We eat on our beds and that’s what they hate’ More than 130,000 children across Great Britain will spend Christmas in temporary accommodation, official figures suggest.
One in every 103 under-18s is officially homeless, a 59% rise in five years, housing charity Shelter said.
One mother-of-three said her children were preparing for Christmas in a one-room bed and breakfast for the second year running.
Councils said a lack of housing had left them “struggling to cope”.
Using government statistics, Shelter said the number of children in temporary accommodation in England had increased 62% in five years and 36% in Scotland.
The charity estimated 1,524 children in Wales were in temporary housing, based on figures for the overall number of households.
It said some B&Bs were “not places for children” because of people reporting problems with rats, children having to share beds with family members and having to “play in dirty public corridors”. ‘Will Santa come if we’re all in one room?’ Image copyright Steve Franck/Shelter Image caption Carly Stutter’s children are facing another Christmas in bed and breakfast
Carly Stutter’s three children have still not opened some of the presents they got for Christmas last year.
She says they are so short of space in their B&B single room she had to leave a lot of their possessions in a friend’s shed.
Miss Stutter, 30, from Croydon, has been living in hostels and B&Bs for more than two years with daughters Paris, 11, and Morgan, 10, and son Archie, six.
“It’s going to be a shambles spending another Christmas like this,” she said.
“Morgan and Archie ask how Santa is going to find us because we’ve been moving and ‘how is he going to get in because we’re only in one room’.
“I tell them he still comes to people even if they’re only in one room.”
The girls share a bed but Morgan prefers to sleep on the floor on a blanket so she has some space.
Miss Stutter shares a bed with Archie and said she turns everything off and lies on the bed in the dark after about 20:30 GMT so the children can sleep.
They left their privately-rented home after the landlord put up the rent from £1,200 to £1,500 a month, which Miss Stutter could not afford.
The family moved to a series of B&Bs but this meant they had to give up their pet dog, 11-year-old Devious. He has been re-homed.
Miss Stutter described one property as “infested with rats”.
“If I didn’t have the kids, God knows what I’d do,” Miss Stutter said. “The kids keep me going, they keep me strong. But enough is enough now.”
Croydon Council said it had started several initiatives to increase local housing supply, including flats for vulnerable rough sleepers and buying more than 150 family homes for households in temporary accommodation.
In England the number of children in temporary accommodation is at its highest for 11 years.
There were 123,130 children without a permanent home in March 2018, up from 76,040 at the start of 2013.
The last time it was higher was 2007, when there were 125,430.

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No Single News Event Will Take Down Trump – The Atlantic

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Homeless at Christmas: ‘How will Santa find us?’ – BBC News

Parental leave: The good, the bad and the unexpected
The girls share a bed but Morgan prefers to sleep on the floor on a blanket so she has some space.
Miss Stutter shares a bed with Archie and said she turns everything off and lies on the bed in the dark after about 20:30 GMT so the children can sleep.
They left their privately-rented home after the landlord put up the rent from £1,200 to £1,500 a month, which Miss Stutter could not afford.
The family moved to a series of B&Bs but this meant they had to give up their pet dog, 11-year-old Devious. He has been re-homed.
Miss Stutter described one property as “infested with rats”.
“If I didn’t have the kids, God knows what I’d do,” Miss Stutter said. “The kids keep me going, they keep me strong. But enough is enough now.”
Croydon Council said it had started several initiatives to increase local housing supply, including flats for vulnerable rough sleepers and buying more than 150 family homes for households in temporary accommodation.
In England the number of children in temporary accommodation is at its highest for 11 years.
There were 123,130 children without a permanent home in March 2018, up from 76,040 at the start of 2013.
The last time it was higher was 2007, when there were 125,430. Single mothers ‘hit hard by homelessness’
Greg Beales, director of campaigns at Shelter, said: “The increasing number of children hidden away in hostels and B&Bs is enough to make anyone’s heart sink. These are not places for children. We hear about cold, damp – even rats.
“Young children are sharing beds with multiple family members, trying to play in dirty public corridors, and having to leave their block in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.”
London boroughs had the highest proportions of children in temporary accommodation.
Westminster City Council, which had the highest rate, put the problem down to high rents and higher house prices.
Councillor Andrew Smith said: “We are building 1,850 affordable homes by 2023 and just last week we launched a new Housing Solution Service for families, which will focus on prevention and providing expert advice before people reach crisis point.
“By engaging early we’re confident we can help more people, cutting out the unimaginable pain and stress that people go through when they lose their home.”
A spokesman for the Local Government Association (LGA) said: “Funding pressures are combining with a lack of affordable housing and rents continuing to rise above household incomes to leave many councils struggling to cope.
“Homelessness continues to rise and the people caught up in this crisis can’t afford for us to wait,”
He said the increasing use of temporary accommodation was “financially unsustainable” for councils as well as “hugely disruptive” for families.
The LGA wants councils to be allowed to keep all the money from housing they sell under right to buy laws so they can can invest in building more homes.
Minister for homelessness Heather Wheeler said: “No family should be left without a roof over their head, especially during the winter months, and we are working to ensure all children have a safe place to stay.
“Councils have a duty to provide temporary accommodation for families with nowhere to go.
“We’re providing more than £1.2bn to tackle all forms of homelessness, including amongst children, and introduced the Homelessness Reduction Act to ensure people at risk get help quicker.
“But we know we have more to do to tackle homelessness, and we will.” Related Topics

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Facebook’s seized files published by MPs – BBC News

Facebook accused of striking ‘secret deals over user data’ 5 December 2018 These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel Image copyright Getty Images Emails written by Facebook’s chief and his deputies show the firm struck secret deals to give some developers special access to user data while refusing others, according to MPs.
A cache of internal documents has been published online by a parliamentary committee.
It said the files also showed Facebook had deliberately made it “as hard as possible” for users to be aware of privacy changes to its Android app.
Facebook had objected to their release.
It said that the documents had been presented in a “very misleading manner” and required additional context.
The emails were obtained from the chief of Six4Three – a software firm that is suing the tech giant – and were disclosed by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee as part of its inquiry into fake news.
About 250 pages have been published, some of which are marked “highly confidential”.
Damian Collins MP, the chair of the committee, highlighted several “key issues” in an introductory note.
He wrote that: Facebook allowed some companies to maintain “full access” to users’ friends data even after announcing changes to its platform in 2014/2015 to limit what developers’ could see. “It is not clear that there was any user consent for this, nor how Facebook decided which companies should be whitelisted,” Mr Collins wrote Facebook had been aware that an update to its Android app that let it collect records of users’ calls and texts would be controversial. “To mitigate any bad PR, Facebook planned to make it as hard as possible for users to know that this was one of the underlying features,” Mr Collins wrote Facebook used data provided by the Israeli analytics firm Onavo to determine which other mobile apps were being downloaded and used by the public. It then used this knowledge to decide which apps to acquire or otherwise treat as a threat there was evidence that Facebook’s refusal to share data with some apps caused them to fail there had been much discussion of the financial value of providing access to friends’ data End of Twitter post by @DamianCollins
Facebook said Six4Three had “cherry-picked” the documents and claimed they had omitted “important context”. All our stories about the Cambridge Analytica data scandal
“We stand by the platform changes we made in 2015 to stop a person from sharing their friends’ data with developers,” said a spokeswoman.
“Like any business, we had many internal conversations about the various ways we could build a sustainable business model for our platform.
“But the facts are clear: we’ve never sold people’s data.”
Mr Zuckerberg has also posted a personal response on his Facebook page .
“I understand there is a lot of scrutiny on how we run our systems. That’s healthy given the vast number of people who use our services around the world, and it is right that we are constantly asked to explain what we do,” he said.
“But it’s also important that the coverage of what we do – including the explanation of these internal documents – doesn’t misrepresent our actions or motives.” Tactics revealed
The correspondence includes emails between Facebook and several other tech firms, in which the social network appears to agree to add third-party apps to a “whitelist” of those given permission to access data about users’ friends.
This might be used, for example, to allow an app’s users to continue seeing which of their Facebook friends were using the same service. Image copyright Netflix Image caption Netflix tapped into Facebook friends lists to let users see what titles their contacts had watched and rated highly
They include: the dating service Badoo, its spin-off Hot or Not, and Bumble – another dating app that it had invested in the car pick-up service Lyft the video-streaming service Netflix the home rental service Airbnb
However, others including the ticket sales service Ticketmaster, Twitter’s short-video platform Vine and the connected-cars specialist Airbiquity seem to have been denied the privilege.
Among the emails that have been published are the following extracts: Blocking Vine
The following concerns a decision to prevent Twitter’s short-form video service having access to users’ friends lists. It is dated 24 January 2012.
Justin Osofsky (Facebook vice president):
“Twitter launched Vine today which lets you shoot multiple short video segments to make one single, 6-second video… Unless anyone raises objections, we will shut down their friends API access today. We’ve prepared reactive PR, and I will let Jana know our decision.”
Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook chief executive):
“Yup, go for it.” Android update
The following is part of a discussion about giving Facebook’s Android app permission to read users’ call logs. It is dated 4 February 2015.
Michael LeBeau (Facebook product manager):
“As you know all the growth team is planning on shipping a permissions update on Android at the end of this month. They are going to include the ‘read call log’ permission… This is a pretty high-risk thing to do from a PR perspective but it appears that the growth team will charge ahead and do it…[The danger is] screenshot of the scary Android permissions screen becomes a meme (as it has in the past), propagates around the web, it gets press attention, and enterprising journalists dig into what exactly the new update is requesting, then write stories about “Facebook uses new Android update to pry into your private life in ever more terrifying ways”. Data leaks
The following is from a discussion in which Mark Zuckerberg mulled the idea of selling developers access to users’ friends’ data. It is dated October 2012, pre-dating the quiz involved in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. It was sent to Sam Mullin, who was vice president of product management.
Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook chief executive):
“It’s not at all clear to me here that we have a model that will actually make us the revenue we want at scale. I’m getting more on board with locking down some parts of platform, including friends’ data and potentially email addresses for mobile apps. I’m generally sceptical that there is as much data leak strategic risk as you think… I think we leak info to developers but I just can’t think of any instances where that data has leaked from developer to developer and caused a real issue for us.” Membership fees
The following is from an email sent by Mark Zuckerberg to several of his executives in which he explains why he does not think making users pay for Facebook would be a good idea. It is dated 19 November 2012.
Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook chief executive):
“The question is whether we could charge and still achieve ubiquity. Theoretically, if we could do that, it would be better to get ubiquity and get paid. My sense is there may be some price we could charge that wouldn’t interfere with ubiquity, but this price wouldn’t be enough to make us real money. Conversely, we could probably make real money of we were willing to sacrifice ubiquity, but that doesn’t seem like the right trade here.” Related Topics

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Brexit: Arron Banks firm has ‘no address’ – BBC News

Leave.EU and Banks firm face £135,000 fines
Mr Banks is a multimillionaire insurance mogul behind the Go Skippy car insurance brand.
He loaned £8m to the Leave.EU campaign before the 2016 EU referendum and says the money came from his company, Rock Services, based at his office in Catbrain Lane, Bristol.
The Electoral Commission suspects the money may have come from another Banks entity, Rock Holdings , based on the Isle of Man.
They, along with the National Crime Agency, are examining whether “impermissible money” may have been used to help fund the Leave campaign before the 2016 EU referendum.
The law on political money is simple. The source should be clear, transparent and British.
If the £8m came from Rock Holdings, then the money would be impermissible and Mr Banks would be in trouble.
Mr Banks says he is a British taxpayer and the money was generated in Britain. Following the trail to Rock Holdings
For more than a year, accountant and investigative journalist Iain Campbell has been looking into Mr Banks’s financial empire, all of which is private and some is held offshore in Gibraltar and the Isle of Man.
Mr Campbell noted that Rock Services has successfully qualified for a limited disclosure exemption under the Companies Act, allowing it to provide less information in its accounts.
But in order to gain this exemption, it had stated in its notes that the accounts of its parent company, Rock Holdings, were “publicly available” at Catbrain Lane.
So last month, Mr Campbell tested this out in person. He went to the Catbrain Lane base, only to be told that they were not available “that day”.
Since then, lawyers for Rock Services, Browne Jacobson, have written to the accountant setting out a series of restrictions on how, when and where the “publicly available” accounts could be viewed and how their contents could be recorded. Mr Campbell told Newsnight: “This is completely unacceptable.”
Newsnight made its own trip to Catbrain Lane this week but when reporter John Sweeney requested an opportunity to inspect the “publicly available” accounts of Rock Holdings, he was asked to leave and escorted out of reception. Image caption Newsnight’s John Sweeney went to Catbrain Lane to inspect the “publicly available” accounts, but was asked to leave.
Browne Jacobson later emailed the BBC with an explanation – referring to a “risk assessment” by Mr Banks’s company on “safety and security” – which, in effect, denied the BBC sight of the accounts at Catbrain Lane. Where to find Rock Holdings?
At the time of the referendum, Rock Holdings’ address had been registered at Murdoch Chambers, South Quay, Douglas, Isle of Man.
Newsnight visited island this week and its first stop was to Murdoch Chambers, which now appears to be an accommodation address, facing a gas showroom overspill car park. The door was locked and no-one answered.
The Newsnight team then moved on to 18 Athol Street, also in Douglas. This was the address, albeit “care of Greystone”, that Rock Holdings filed with the Isle of Man registry in November this year.
But when Newsnight dropped by, it was told by Greystone that Rock Holdings “was neither approved nor agreed by or known to any director or officer of the company or ourselves”.
This means the company that the Electoral Commission suspects may be the true source of the biggest donation in British political history is a closed book in a secrecy jurisdiction with no official address and when you try to look at its accounts you cannot Any further questions to answer?
Newsnight has separately investigated Ural Properties. This company name appeared in an internal email chain sent by Mr Banks’s team to the BBC, to prove his innocence of the charge that the money might have come from Russia.
Mr Banks faced controversy after his three meetings with the Russian ambassador became public knowledge and over whether he travelled to Russia in 2016, the year of the referendum. He previously told Newsnight: “No money came from the men with snow on their boots.”
One internal email in the documents sent to the BBC contained the comment: “Redact the reference for Ural Properties and any references which include sensitive info e.g. the account numbers that the money was sent from.”
An online website, Source Material, obtained the accounts of Ural Properties in Gibraltar and passed them on to Newsnight.
Two nominee companies have owned Ural Properties and the first is linked to a known associate of Mr Banks, Alan Kentish. Last year Mr Kentish was arrested by the Gibraltar authorities for alleged non-disclosure of information. No charges followed.
The company owns two flats in Gunwharf, Portsmouth, overlooking the sea lane into the Royal Navy base.
Newsnight asked Mr Banks specific questions about Rock Holdings, the fact that it was in default and its lack of a registered address. Mr Banks was also asked about Ural Properties. He made no substantive reply.
However, he did provide the following statement: “This is the seventh programme designed to smear me and discredit Brexit. I have repeatedly stated that I am a UK taxpayer and the funds were from UK. The NCA have had ‘full disclosure’ of the relevant bank accounts and an explanation of the where the money came from. We will be doing a victory lap of the TV studios once this matter is resolved and look forward to being interviewed by John ‘the Trot’ Sweeney or the ever ‘professional’ Kirsty or Emily.”
You can watch Newsnight on BBC 2 weekdays 22:30 or on iPlayer . Subscribe to the programme on YouTube or follow them on Twitter . Related Topics

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