More than 40,000 people sleep on our streets every night.Tim Worstall picks him up on it pointing out that actually only 1,768 people sleep rough in England. What's going on?
The answer is that Clarke is relying on the following line from the ONS report on Housing and Planning:
During 2009-10, local authorities made 89,120 decisions on eligible applications for housing assistance under homelessness legislation. Nearly half of these - 40,020 - were accepted as owed a main homelessness duty, 70 per cent lower than the peak in 2003-04.However, he wasn't careful enough with what he's talking about. Elsewhere, the ONS has a page with "Notes and definitions for homelessness data" which states:
The term "Homelessness" is often considered to apply only to people "sleeping rough". However, most of our statistics on homelessness relate to the statutorily homeless i.e. those households which meet specific criteria of priority need set out in legislation, and to whom a homelessness duty has been accepted by a local authority.So there are about 40,000 people considered homeless under the ONS definition but only 1,768 people sleeping on the streets.
Such households are rarely homeless in the literal sense of being without a roof over their heads, but are more likely to be threatened with the loss of, or are unable to continue with, their current accommodation.