Jonathan Swift - A Modest ProposalI do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration that of the hundred and twenty thousand children already computed, twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only one-fourth part to be males; which is more than we allow to sheep, black cattle or swine; and my reason is, that these children are seldom the fruits of marriage, a circumstance not much regarded by our savages, therefore one male will be sufficient to serve four females. That the remaining hundred thousand may, at a year old, be offered in the sale to the persons of quality and fortune through the kingdom; always advising the mother to let them suck plentifully in the last month, so as to render them plump and fat for a good table. A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.
Yes, that is a deliberately attention grabbing headline, but stick with me. In the UK, London councils are going to start 'moving' poor families out of the city because property prices in the capital are too high.
Here in Ireland there have been some quite successful pilot schemes to (voluntarily) rehouse homeless Dubliners in rural areas as both a cost saving measure, and as a way to offer families more space than could ever be affordable by the council in the city.
Dublin homeless may be housed in rural areas
But perhaps there is a slightly more radical solution if we look a little further afield. I'm just back from the Portuguese island of Madeira. Beautiful place - with a great mix of perfect weather and great (EU funded) infrastructure. They've also had a housing bubble that makes ours seem minor. The banks basically own around 20% of all property on the island and are very keen to shift it.
I went property hunting while I was over there. You can get a massive 4 bed in the main city for 80k. There are 1000s of similar properties for sale. The cost of living is around half or less of Ireland.
Do the maths, and the cost of housing a family for a year works out at under 3k, vs 15k minimum in Dublin. There are over 1000 homeless families in Dublin tonight who are housed in hotels at the tax payer's expense. For a fraction of that cost, Dublin City Council could buy a couple of apartment buildings in paradise and fly them over. Voluntary, of course.
This would be a very quick way to reduce the homeless crisis and save money to boot.
What chance do homeless families staying in hostels in Dublin havevof securing employment. What chance do their kids have of a stable education. All that is available in Madeira. For one, Irish people have at least one highly valuable skill in Madeira - they are native English speakers.Because sending people to places where they will have reduced chances of securing and undertaking the productive work needed to pay for their housing is a sensible policy.
Westminster council says rising homelessness, coupled with housing benefits cuts and government plans to force local authorities to sell off social housing gives it no option but to place more families outside the capital.
I wouldn't use it as a reproach the very poor their decision is entirely rational. I couldn't afford to emigrate when I was unemployed during the recession but I may do so in the near future to improve my job prospects and because I will have the savings to support myself during the transition period.Now the educated leave.
The poor don't.