Let's make 2020 the year we scrap the Vagrancy Act


A man sleeping rough. Image: Steven Lilley.

 

Our recent survey in Bromley Town Centre found one of the key issues people are worried about is homelessness in our borough. And with a homeless population of over 4400, people are rightly worried. The Tory-led council and government don't want to do anything about it: homeless people are helped largely though charity, despite the causes of homelessness often being induced by poor housing, health and welfare policy. 

And yet our government reserves the right to arrest these people.

71% of people think arresting someone for sleeping rough is a waste of police time. Over half have said it shouldn’t be a crime at all.

But still, the government's kicked the decision of repealing the Vagrancy Act it into the long grass and is waiting for their own review.

Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, introduced a Vagrancy (Repeal) Bill into the last Parliament. In the chaos of Brexit, it disappeared. But this could be quickly re-introduced.

Out of sight, out of mind isn't good enough. It's a mark of national shame that even one person is homeless in 2020 - even more so that we're prosecuting them for it. The problem isn't going to go away - so let's make the first step towards solving it together. Let's scrap the Vagrancy Act.


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