You are currently viewing Freedom of Information in the news – week ending 17/5/2024 – #FOIFriday

Freedom of Information in the news – week ending 17/5/2024 – #FOIFriday

Something of a late and quite short FOI (not)Friday this week…

Homeless families

The number of families put up in B&Bs and hotels in Glasgow has doubled in three months. The latest official figures show on April 1 there were 52 families living in homeless B&B hotels, twice as many than January 1, when it was 26.

The overall number of people in hotels and B&Bs was 1,590 also an increase from 1,390 in January.

The data released under Freedom of Information to the Scottish Tenants Organisation showed there were 4,201 breaches of the unsuitable accommodation order between January 1, 2023 and April 1, 2024. All of the breaches were in hotel/bed and breakfast accommodation.

Over the same period, 43 homeless people died in temporary accommodation.

Child abductions

Figures obtained through Freedom of Information requests show that at least 925 children have been abducted by a parent between 2019 and the end of last year, with nearly half of the recorded incidents occurring in London.

There were at least 232 parental abductions reported to police forces across England in the last year alone, marking a 12% rise on the figures from 2019.

Mani Singh Basi, a specialist Family Law barrister, said parents who are frustrated with stalled judicial proceedings are “taking matters into their own hands”.

Crime at Sports Direct

This is a pretty specific request – for crimes at Sports Direct stores, but is a good way to look at crime on the high street in a different way.

Staff at Sports Direct and JD Sports have been head-butted, bitten, punched, elbowed and threatened with weapons, a Sun probe has found.

In one case, a Sports Direct employee needed a CT scan after they were battered over the head by a thief. The attack was logged by West Mercia Police and revealed after Freedom of Information requests.

In total, there were 137 assaults recorded – around three a week – with Sports Direct reporting 87 incidents and JD Sports 50. But the true stats would be higher – as police forces including London’s Met, Merseyside, Hampshire and Sussex did not provide information.

Mortgaged to the hilt

Hundreds of thousands of homeowners have taken out mortgages in the last three years that they will still be paying off into retirement, estimates suggest.

The Bank of England’s data shows that in the final three months of 2021, some 31% of new mortgages had an end date beyond state pension age.

Two years later, some 42% of new mortgages had this end date during retirement, suggesting a rise in popularity of longer-term loans.

Across the final quarters of all three years, nearly 300,000 new mortgages were in this category.

The figures emerged from a Freedom of Information (FoI) request made by Sir Steve Webb, a former pensions minister who is now a partner at pensions consultancy LCP.


This is a really interesting article using FOI as a starting place to dig into the recovery of items from shipwrecks around the coast. The FOI seems to have provided info about what has been found with research and interviews giving more background on individual items and how finds happen.

A 200-year-old elephant tusk, coins from the Spanish Armada, plane parts, iron swords and a jar of Marmite were among the items found and reported to the Receiver of Wreck last year.

Human bones, mammoth bones and a French-made 2.5 tonne 17th Century bronze cannon were also on the list. More than 300 items were declared in the 2023 report.

Image by Marc Coenen on Pexels