“Social consciousness is rapidly disappearing”

“… In the heart of London’s theater district opposite the Savoy Hotel, with rooms for up to $800 a night, scores of people are lingering patiently on a balmy summer evening.

The snaking line near a branch of Coutts & Co., the bankers to the Queen, displays a portrait of contemporary London: men and women of all ages and ethnic backgrounds, some speaking English and some Polish amid a cacophony of other languages. Some are dressed smartly in shirts and trousers, others in jeans and baseball caps. One man is wearing a food delivery company uniform.

But they’re not there for a deal on tickets to a West End show or a table at Gordon Ramsay’s joint. They’re there for food handouts from a local charity. …

Public spending in Britain has fallen to about 38 percent of gross domestic product from 45 percent in 2010, according to figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility.

Research by charity Shelter found that 55 percent of homeless families in temporary accommodation are working. The 33,000 families represent an increase of 73 percent since 2013, according to the research based on freedom of information requests.

“Everybody’s fighting for themselves now,” Mohammed Nazir, the cabinet member for housing in Slough Borough Council on the fringes of London, said after a meeting in the U.K. Parliament about homelessness. “Social consciousness is rapidly disappearing.”