Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Demonstrators to fight soup run ban

Protestors will stage a demonstration on Sunday against plans by a London council to ban soup runs and rough sleeping.

Westminster Council is consulting on plans to ask the Communities and Local Government department to approve a byelaw preventing people from lying down or sleeping in a public place, or distributing bedding, and giving out free food or drink.

If granted, the byelaw would cover a large area in the south of the borough, including Westminister Cathedral piazza and CLG’s Eland House head office.

Those caught breaking the byelaw could face a fine of up to £500.

Protestors will demonstrate against the proposals outside Westminster Cathedral on Sunday.

Alastair Murray, of campaign group Housing Justice, said: ‘This proposed byelaw threatens to marginalise and stigmatise homeless and needy people even further.

‘It will effectively criminalise compassion, making it illegal for volunteers and charities to distribute free food and offer advice to the homeless.

‘This offends against common decency and common sense.’

The council said it is concerned about the impact of rough sleeping and the distribution of refreshment on businesses and residents in the Victoria area of the borough.

It said it wants homeless people to use facilities provided in buildings by the council and third sector organisations. It believes soup runs are detrimental to rough sleepers in the long term and prolong the length of time they spend on the streets.

A consultation letter from the council states: ‘The council has to achieve a balance between the interests and concerns of the homeless people and rough sleepers on one hand, and the interests and concerns of local residents and businesses on the other.’

The consultation closes on 25 March.

Readers' comments (20)

Comments are only open to subscribers of Inside Housing

Already a subscriber?

If you’re already a subscriber to Inside Housing, your subscription may not be linked to your online account. You can link your subscription from within the My Account section of the website and clicking on Link My Account.

Not yet a subscriber?

If you don't yet subscribe to Inside Housing, please visit our subscription page to view our various subscription packages.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Newsletter Sign-up

Related

Articles

  • Run for homes

    30 March 2016

    Why I won’t be running for the sector - but you should, writes Katie Teasdale

  • The fight against TB

    4 September 2015

    Tuberculosis was one of the great public health crises of the Victorian age, due to poor housing and sanitation. Now the disease is back to haunt Britain. Emily Twinch finds out how the modern housing sector is responding

  • Northern Ireland welfare reform bill voted down

    27 May 2015

    Welfare reform legislation has been voted down in Northern Ireland, raising fears that a full package of benefit cuts could be introduced directly by the Westminster government.

  • £900m fund completes second deal

    26 May 2015

    A £900m social housing fund has completed its second deal amid a flurry of equity investment into the housing sector.

  • Right to Buy extension to be included in Queen's Speech

    26 May 2015

    Measures to extend the Right to Buy to housing associations tenants will be included in the Queen’s Speech.

IH Subscription