The photo that sums up the imbalance of wealth in Britain
A photo highlighting the huge imbalance between Britain’s richest and poorest people has gone viral on Facebook - and generated awareness of homelessness at Christmas.
Posted in the Facebook group ‘Sh*t London’, Cliff Judson’s snapshot shows a number of rough sleepers sheltering under the plush and extravagant display outside House of Fraser’s flagship store on London’s Oxford Street.
Mr Judson, a 43-year-old Londoner, posted the picture to highlight poverty at Christmas.
The startling image, posted on Wednesday, was captioned: “For me, this sums up how shit London can really be.
“The glitz and glamour, sparkly twinkly lights, whilst lots of money changes hands as Christmas spending dominates right about now, and homeless people are around the back in tents in torrential rain.
“There’s a hugely polar opposite situation going on right there! It sucks!”
At the time of writing, his post received more than 2,100 reactions and was shared nearly 1,000 times - and generated a debate about homelessness and commercialisation in the process.
Speaking to Yahoo News UK, Mr Judson, who works as a contract engineer for Transport for London (TfL), says he has watched inequality in the capital rise.
He said: “As the shop lights and buildings get brighter and taller, the dark places and hidden areas become more and more populated with the homeless.
“Shop doors are filling up at night in many areas and yet the wealth of the richer people is more on display with super cars and technology than ever.
Read more from Yahoo News:
Drug gang jailed for smuggling cocaine and heroin worth millions into UK inside chickens
Prince Andrew accuser Virginia Giuffre: 'Only one of us is telling the truth'
Lesbian attacked on London night bus punched teens after taunts went too far, court hears
“I do stop and chat to homeless people whilst I’m working, it takes seconds to show you care.”
“The post started with a conversation with my friend Tony who owns the coffee shop, the whole injustice of Christmas and the commercial aspect. I decided to try and make a difference.
“I’m over the moon, this is honestly one of my proudest life moments. One photo, a few words... a huge debate sparked.
“Never ever did I expect such a response and importantly the amount of shares it’s had has blown my mind.”
Homelessness continues to be a growing problem across the UK.
According to a Shelter report in 2018, at least 320,000 people are homeless in Britain.
In October, data collated by the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) shows 3,985 people slept rough across the capital from July to September 2019.
The figure amounted to a 28 per cent increase on the same period last year.
Yahoo News UK has contacted Shelter for comment.