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vital statistics

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lThe ranks of the 'hidden homeless'have reached a new high, according to housing charity Crisis. It believes Britain is currently home to 400,000 'sofa surfers'- people who move from one friend's floor to another as a way of avoiding sleeping rough.

l The UK's post offices had to deal with a backlog of up to 50 million undelivered items as the postal strike tailed off.At its peak, up to 25,000 members of the Communication Workers Union were participating in unofficial industrial action against the Royal Mail.

l London's West End theatres need at least £250 million of investment during the next 15 years if they are to keep pace with the needs and expectations of both the public and performers, new research by The Theatres Trust has found.

l One in five children waiting for adoption never receives a single offer from parents keen to take them on, according to a survey of 1,700 children by the British Association for Adoption and Fostering.

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