If you want to get this briefing by email, sign up here
‘A perfect storm’
One in every 200 Britons is either sleeping rough or living in temporary accommodation, such as hostels and B&Bs. The charity Shelter says this amounts to 320,000 people recorded as homeless in 2018. It warns that’s likely to be a conservative estimate, as it doesn’t include people unknown to the authorities. Those who sleep rough inside derelict buildings, for example, rather than more visibly in shop doorways.
Shelter is sure, though, that the number is on the rise – up by 13,000 on last year and equivalent to 36 new people becoming homeless every day. People like Telli Afrik, his wife and two young children, who live in one room in a hostel after losing their home. Or people like these, forced onto the streets. Or like AD, who the BBC met recently, living in a shed.
Shelter blames “a perfect storm of spiralling rents, welfare cuts and a total lack of social housing”. The government says it’s investing £1.2bn to tackle homelessness, including more help for rough sleepers struggling from mental health problems and addiction, but critics say it’s nowhere near enough.
‘Act now on obesity’
Nearly 7,000 children and young adults under 25 have type 2 diabetes in England and Wales – the form of the disease linked to obesity. Charity Diabetes UK says that’s about 10 times higher than the previous estimate. The condition is more aggressive in children and can lead to blindness, amputations, heart disease and kidney failure. Diabetes prescriptions also cost the NHS in England alone more than £1bn a year.
The Department of Health and Social Care says it’s committed to halving child obesity by 2030 and is launching consultations on proposals to limit advertising of unhealthy foods. But health experts say there’s not enough urgency and the plans must become reality now.
Drivers should be offered cheaper car insurance if they take a course to make them more aware of cyclists, the government says. The idea is one of 50 measures designed to make cycling and walking safer. They also include more power for councils to tackle parking in cycling lanes, a new police unit to analyse evidence of dangerous driving caught on dashboard or helmet-mounted cameras, and a new government-appointed cycling and walking “champion”. Last year, 100 cyclists and 470 pedestrians died on UK roads, an increase of 5%.
Half of tuition fees spent on teaching
By Sean Coughlan, Education and Family correspondent, BBC News
The Higher Education Policy Institute says the rest is spent on buildings, IT and libraries, administration, or welfare such as mental health support. Students should be given much more information about how their fee is being used, it argues. The research also shows that universities can have very different levels of dependency on the current £9,250 annual tuition fees. Tuition fees were only 15% of income for Cambridge, but at Falmouth it was 83% and Nottingham Trent was 81%.
What the papers say
There’s condemnation in many papers of the treatment of the British academic jailed in the United Arab Emirates for spying. The Metro points out that the hearing which decided his fate lasted just five minutes. The Times sees a “diplomatic crisis of the first order”, and suggests that if the UAE wants to remain friends with the UK, it must release him. The lecturers union tells the Guardian it’s no longer safe for academics to study in the UAE. And the Daily Mail reports that Birmingham University staff will vote today on whether to boycott its £100m Dubai campus, opened in September. Elsewhere, Education Secretary Damian Hinds has told the i that primary school pupils should be encouraged by teachers to climb trees, build rockets and watch the sun rise. The paper draws a contrast between this idea and the policies of one of his predecessors, Michael Gove, who focused on a more demanding curriculum.
Brexit latest Gibraltar tensions, but PM still optimistic
‘Obama judge’ Chief justice rebukes Trump over jibe
Nudity row Ariana Grande hits out at Piers Morgan
Guest editors BBC Radio reveals its festive takeovers
If you watch one thing today
If you listen to one thing today
If you read one thing today
07:00 A price cap on rent-to-own companies could be announced by the Financial Conduct Authority when it reveals details of its inquiry into the sector
10:30 The Intelligence and Security Committee publishes a report on the lessons that should be learned from the 2017 terror attacks
On this day
2003 England win the Rugby World Cup