James Rennie -
You say yourself you know that rough sleeper numbers are goign down in LONDON. The Westminster comment in the article says this too in one part of LONDON.
You again say "Numbers in the CAPITAL are going down" the CAPITAL is LONDON.
Nowhere in your comments do you say you KNOW rough sleeper numbers are down outside of LONDON.
Ive worked with rough sleeper services in amny parts of the country but not in LONDON.
Even if LONDON has twice as many rough sleepers than it statistically should have due to some notion of gravitating there as it has more services per capita (which I fully accept) then at most LONDON can have less than one-third of all rough sleepers.
You allude to this being HL or others trying to get a bit of the funding pot - a strong claim which may or may not have some merit. Yet either way it doesnt hide and cat hide the fact that LONDON has had 90%+ of the rough sleeper funding for decades.
All of the rough sleeper services I have worked with, be they in inner cities or in very rural areas (you need a helicopter with thermal imaging to count rough sleepers in barns and hedgerows) will state privately - "Why does LONDON get all the funding?" Or many comments such as "You would think only LONDON had rough sleepers" and many similar comments.
LONDON rough sleeping organisations come out with high-profile arguments as to why the many nightly soup runs in LONDON should be banned. Some of these arguments have some merit Im willing to concede though Im not convinced Elsewhere in the UK rough sleeper organisation simply tell of the regular but miraculous appearance of soup runs out of the ether... when there is known to be an official rough sleeper count going on.
I know of an inner city with an official rough sleeper count of zero that commissioned and funded a support service to look after 60 or so rough sleepers per night. It wasnt in LONDON.
I could regale you with many more tales of councils being told its ok to use B&B in the days leading up to official counts. I could tell many stories of councils conducting counts, finding 5 and more times the number of official rough sleepers, only to be told such counts were not sanctioned and could not be official.
Ive personally been involved in some of the above and its not anecdotal or conspracy theory.
All I KNOW is that the rough sleeper counts have been fudged, massaged and any similar term for years and they have been a chronic understatement of the real figures.
And while this charade has been going on I wonder which part of the UK hoovered up all the funding? We all KNOW that.