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Most Londoners believe homelessness has gone up in the capital

Sixty-nine percent of Londoners think that rough sleeping has increased in the capital, according to the latest poll out conducted for the Mile End Institute at Queen Mary University of London. 

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Photo Credit: Garry Knight via flickr
Photo Credit: Garry Knight via flickr

This includes large majorities of every demographic group, by age, gender, social grade, whether they live in inner London or outer London, the party they support, and their ethnicity.

Just three percent of those polled think that homelessness has gone down, while the rest said they don’t know or believe it has remained at about the same level.

Of the 69 per cent, most (41 per cent) think rough sleeping has gone up ‘a lot’, with 28 per cent thinking it has increased ‘a little’.

Fieldwork for the poll was conducted by YouGov.

Philip Cowley, Professor of Politics at Queen Mary and Director of the Mile End Institute, said: “It is relatively rare in polling to find things that almost everyone agrees about – but Londoners are certain that there has been a rise in rough sleeping, and four out of ten Londoners think it has gone up a lot.”

Who's to blame?

Londoners are also a little less likely to think rough sleeping has gone up in their own local area (44 per cent), although they are still more likely to think it’s gone up than down (3 per cent) or stayed the same (27 per cent) even in their own groups. This pattern is also constant across all demographic groups.

However there is a difference when Londoners are asked who they blame for this perceived rise in homelessness.

Most people blame the government (56 per cent), followed by the local borough council (15 per cent), and the Mayor (six per cent) or the EU (six per cent).

The notable exception to this is Conservative voters who are more likely to blame their local council (28 per cent) or the EU (20 per cent) rather than the government (15 per cent).

More information: 

  • The data tables are available here
  • All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,155 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12 and 15 February 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all London adults (aged 18+). YouGov is a member of the British Polling Council and abide by their rules.
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