I’d like to introduce you to Jane.

That’s not her real name but she is a real person.

Jane and her two children, one of whom has autism, live in Abingdon in a rented house. She works full time, but a couple of weeks ago, Jane reached out. She can no longer afford her rent and is now terrified of eviction. She’s looked high and low in Abingdon for a property within her means, and so far it doesn’t exist. So, she faces this Christmas uncertain about her future. She asked me how, as a nation, did we get to the stage where people in full-time work couldn’t afford a roof over their head?

On the Public Accounts Committee we’ve been asking the same question. In our report, out last week, we branded the scale of the problem a national crisis. There are now 9,100 people sleeping rough – doubled since 2011. You just need to walk around Oxford to see this with your own eyes. There are some extraordinary local charities like Oxford Homeless Pathways’ and 45 Vineyard in Abingdon who need our support. But the crisis is bigger than just what we see.

More than 78,000 households, including more than 120,000 children, are homeless and housed in temporary accommodation. The cross-party committee branded the Government’s approach as ‘unacceptably complacent’ and urged a much greater focus on the issue.

Our first recommendation is that Government needs to take a joined-up approach to this.

When the benefits cap came in no one did any modelling about how this would affect people at risk of becoming homeless, which we found unacceptable. The new Homelessness Reduction Act should help, but we’ve seen this before. Our job will be to ensure it’s implemented properly from the start and delivers the results intended.

Second, any money put in needs to be targeted at the areas most affected. That’s not what’s happening – it’s councils with schemes that are ready to spend the money who are getting it. Which is not the same thing.

And finally, critically, we need to tackle Jane’s problem. There is lots of housebuilding in Oxfordshire, some of the highest rates in the country in fact. But the question is who are these homes for? The council plans for a proportion of the new housing to be ‘affordable’ but it is a small proportion and that is 80 per cent of market value to buy. What we need is more social rented – housing that is truly affordable for ordinary working families.

Without fixing the systemic issue all we are doing is papering over cracks. I’m working closely with Jane and I hope for a, if not happy, at least a more secure future for her family. But in this time of merriment perhaps spare a thought for those who are struggling to afford even the basics or are on the streets, often through little fault of their own. The Committee believes as a country can and should do much better. And so do I.