Daniel Douglas

London's Secret Exodus of the Poor, The Independent

Daniel Douglas’s investigation into the mistreatment of homeless families exposed the full scale of a mass uprooting of over 100,000 vulnerable homeless children in the capital; a scandal the government had kept hidden from public view.

The investigation, published on the front page of The Independent a week before the 2015 general election, sparked widespread outrage and accusations of social cleansing from across the political spectrum and from leading housing and children’s charities.

London mayor Boris Johnson speaking to the BBC about austerity and welfare cuts in 2010, pledged: “On my watch you are not going to see thousands of families evicted from the place where they have been living.” The investigation established beyond any doubt that this promise to Londoners had been broken.

A Supreme Court ruling in April 2015 strengthened the established legal position that forcing homeless families out of their local authority is unlawful and unjustifiable in the vast majority of cases.

Labour’s mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan, commenting at the time of publication, called the “social cleansing of London a badge of shame for this government”.

The story brought to public attention a subject that rarely makes the front page of a national newspaper, and gave voice to a section of the community that often is not able to speak up for itself.

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