The Spectator

Barometer | 4 May 2017

Also in Barometer: the state of Emmanuel Macron’s marriage and the many wonderful ways local councils spend your money

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Spend, spend, spend

London mayor Sadiq Khan ended support for the Garden Bridge, probably killing it off. How are other public projects going?

— Manchester City Council spent

£3.5 million blocking a right of way with a glass pod and iron gates likened to Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’.

— Birmingham City Council proposes to spend £10 million on a water feature and new lights in Centenary Square.

— Trafford Council spent £16,000 on a stone in Altrincham bearing the words ‘market’ and ‘1290’.

— Since 2005, Belfast City Council has spent £104,650 on portraits of its lord mayors.

Gap years

Emmanuel Macron’s wife is 24 years older than him. How unusual is this?

— In 2001, 4 per cent of UK couples had husbands more than 15 years older and 4 per cent had wives over eight years older.

The US has more detailed figures

Husband 20 or more years older

1.0%

Husband 15-19 years older

1.6%

Husband 10-15 years older

4.8%

Husband 6-9 years older

11.6%

Age-gap five years or less

76.7%

Wife 6-9 years older

2.7%

Wife 10-14 years older

1.0%

Wife 15-19 years older

0.3%

Wife 20 or more years older

0.3%

Source: US Current Population Survey

Crime watch

East Devon District Council made it an offence to feed seagulls under a Public Spaces Protection Order. Other new or proposed crimes under such orders:

— Under-16s gathering in groups of three or more (Bassetlaw)

— Sitting in a shop doorway on more than one occasion (Tendring)

— Busking for over an hour (Hammersmith)

— Sleeping in public in the dark (Wrexham)

— Walking more than four dogs at a time (Gosport)

— Allowing your sheep to enter the village of Bream (Forest of Dean)