The Spectator

How many people sleep rough?

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Ballot points

Michael Gove hinted that the general election could be on 14 or 21 November.     Have we had a November election before?

– General elections were held on 15 November 1922, when the Conservatives won a 74 seat majority and on 14 November 1935 when the National Government won a majority of 242.

– There have been no general elections in November since then.

– Prior to the first world war, general elections were not held on one specific day but were spread over several weeks.     General elections spanned November in 1806 (Whig victory), 1812 (Tory), 1868 (Liberal) and 1885 (Conservative).

Raw facts

How many times was sewage discharged into rivers and the sea in 2023?

– The Environment Agency monitored 14,318 storm overflows – places where sewers are emptied directly into rivers or the sea, bypassing sewage works.

– The average number of spills per overflow was 33, making for a total of more than  472,000 sewage discharges last year.

60% of sewage overflows spilled more. than ten times; 14% did not spill at all.

Source: Environment Agency

Rough figures

The government wants to grant police new powers to move on rough sleepers causing a nuisance, but Conservative rebels want to decriminalise rough sleeping by abolishing the Vagrancy Act. How many people sleep rough? In a government census one autumn night in 2022, 3,069 people were counted sleeping rough in England. That included:

London                                                   858

South-east                                              575

South-west                                             413

West Midlands                                      250

Yorkshire and Humberside                 170

North-east                                              61

Source: Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

Country numbers

How much farmland in England is owned by the individual or business farming it? Of nine million hectares of English farmland:

6.2m hectares are owned

6.2m hectares are rented on long-term tenancies

504,000 hectares are rented seasonally

Looking at individual holdings:

54% own their land outright

14% are wholly rented

19% are majority owned

13% are majority rented

Source: Defra