A YouTube star said some of the beggars on London’s streets could be “secret millionaires” as they could earn “up to £35,000” a year despite living rough.
Tọ́ba Courage, who runs the YouTube channel The Hack with some 854,000 subscribers, said some of the beggars he interacted with earned up to £150 a day.
This compares with less than £100 an individual can earn on an average work day at the minimum wage of £9.5 an hour applicable for people aged 23 years or more.
The YouTuber, specialised in videos on low-budget living, calculated that a rough sleeper, begging five days a week could earn up to £35,000 in 11 months.
Courage, whose videos garner millions of views, said he too ventured into begging after speaking to rough sleepers and got £70 in a few hours.
His videos on beggars were shot six years ago but they were widely shared last week.
Some of the rough sleepers he interacted with shared their experiences of receiving unexpectedly big amounts.
One of them said, “I got a £5,000 drop like six months ago.” A woman said she went to McDonald’s after receiving £80 from just one person.
“For most of these people, it’s their lifestyle, it’s like a vicious loop and then they’re stuck in it. You’re probably wondering what they are doing with all this money? Day after day after day after – surely they must be secret millionaires,” he said.
Courage said many of the “smart” rough sleepers refused to speak on camera as they chose to remain anonymous.
“Some of them are smart, they don’t want you to know. Some of them won’t let me record them, those are the secret millionaires, I even offered them £10 – they’re like “No no no, don’t record me I don’t want people to see me”.’
Citing an estimate by the charity Crisis, Mail Online reported that around 227,000 people experienced the worst forms of homelessness across England, Scotland and Wales in 2021.