§ Mr. Meacher
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate of the number of people begging in (i) London and (ii) the rest of the country; what recent surveys have been carried out; and if he will institute a survey now so as to ascertain the up-to-date numbers involved.
§ Mr. John Patten
I have been asked to reply.
The only statistics available are of the number prosecuted for begging each year. In 1988 there were 573 such prosecutions in England and Wales of which 512 (89 per cent.) resulted in convictions. In the Metropolitan police district there were 500 prosecutions of which 455 (91 per cent.) resulted in convictions. We have no present plans to institute a survey on begging.