Rough sleeping statistics could be showing just a fifth of the problem

Rough sleeping in the UK could be five times worse than the current UK government figures, according to an investigation that revealed that as many as 28,000 people were recorded sleeping rough in a year.

Official figures, calculated on the basis of a one-night snapshot, claimed that 4667 people were sleeping on the streets in England in 2018.

But an investigation by the BBC asked councils for their rough sleeping stats .

The responses show nearly 25,000 people were recorded sleeping rough at least once in England during the latest year.

After the investigation Labour's John Healey demanded that that the government's statistics, which he branded "seriously misleading" were investigated by the government's statistics authority.

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The Shadow Housing Minister said: “These figures expose the shameful scale of rough sleeping on our country’s streets.

"The Conservatives can’t begin to fix the problem when they won’t admit the scale of it,” he said

“Ministers should replace these discredited statistics and adopt Labour ’s plan to end rough sleeping for good.”

Writing to UK’s statistics chief Sir David Norgrove, Mr Healey said: "The government’s rough sleeping statistics are the sole statistics produced by government on rough sleeping so they are naturally and inevitably assumed by the public to be an accurate portrayal of the scale of rough sleeping. This is clearly not the case.

"I would be grateful if you would investigate the flaws in these figures and how the government’s statistics could be improved so they better capture the level of rough sleeping in our country.

A Government spokesman told the BBC: "We're committed to eliminating rough sleeping by the end of the Parliament and our efforts have already led to the first nationwide fall in a decade."

"We're confident our independently verified snapshot provides a good estimate of the numbers of people sleeping rough on a given night.

"This year we will give nearly half a billion pounds to councils and charities to support homelessness and rough sleeping services and get people off the streets for good."

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