Friday, 06 March 2015

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)

  • Melvin Bone

    Maybe it could get around this by getting a street trading licence and charging for the soup.

    I thought some charities supported the ban though?

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  • Arthur Brown

    You will see more of this happening the closer we get to the start of the 2012 Olympic Games. The government will put pressure on the councils to clear the streets of the homeless, the street drinkers & beggars.

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  • I suggest as a form the protest, to throw soup right in the face of all the Westminster councillors who want this byelaw.
    Some of it might get into their mouths, and make them realise how good it is and change their minds.

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  • So any homeless, with not fixed abode, sleeping on his bedding (one layer or carboard box) in a shop window will be fined £500?... Wow! That's guaranteed to make Westminster more money than illegal parking fines.

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  • This is the 'Big Society' in action. Quite how we can hold our heads up as a nation anymore on the international stage astounds me. But I forgot. Call-me-Dave and his motley crew couldn't care less about that. Their priority is that nice places are for nice people and the not nice people (i.e. everyone who isn't like them) should be swept away into townships located many miles away from where the nice people live. What Johnny Foreigner thinks is of no consequence. And sweeping the homeless down the drains and fining the charities who try to help them probably won't unduly trouble the mafia hoods, despots, bankers and other criminals who, by laundering their ill gotten gains through the City, help keep Call-me-Dave and his band of merry bullies in the style to which they feel is their right. A bit of spin for the Olympics, with the usual spivs and con-artists slithering around ripping off the tourists and a little bit of largesse can be sprinkled around a bit to keep the oiks happy. And the homeless? Who they?

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  • There is no doubt that more needs to be done to help homelless out of the hmolelessness trap. Homelessness is often a kind of choice - as with the well known baglady.
    But these are people with serious problems and they need REAL HELP not SOCIAL CLEANSING Which more or less is what "call me Dave" and his the con/lib maffia are planning.
    AND they are making even more people homeless with cutting bebefits in order to "clean"up london posh area.
    Well, "call me Dave" I recommend since you are a church goer that you go and reflect on what you are doing but then so much harm as been done in the name of god that it could make it worse.
    We need to support labour in order to influence them.

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  • Gavin Howells

    Can we hear from the private sector on this, please? Surely the market can provide a solution for these 'homeless' or whatever this group of subversives are called.

    There must be a solution for this group who, from all accounts, intentionally make themselves homeless (and subject themselves to nights in doorways, under-bridges, in the rain and cold) to cue up for some soup. Isn't there a private market solution to mental illness, alcohol abuse, family breakdown etc.?

    Lousy homeless. Let the markets take care of them. Maybe by paying a private company to sweep them into the Thames?

    Bravo, Westminster Council. Bravo.

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  • * +

    So, rough sleepers get banned from one where do they go...the borough next door where they too, get mighty miffed with the increase in rough sleepers and also pass a bylaw. How far out do they want to push people who are already at the bottom of the pile. The next thing we'll be hearing about is a shanty town springing up on a brownfield site somwehere on the outskirts of london.

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  • HalfCutHero | 15/03/2011 1:25 pm

    Why waste money to pay a private company to sweep the homeless in the Thames when there are heroes like you ready to do it for free?... Post it in hee when you are going to do it as I'd like to come and watch... I might even fish you out of the mud you are already drowning in.

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  • abner arrow

    Cllr Nuthole: If they can't pay, I suppose they'll be jailed and that does it all.

    Cllr Xircon: Wish we could have put them in the back of a lorry, and send them back, where they come from.

    Poker: Bl***y foreigners!

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