Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Housing Minister Melanie Onn have announced that the next Labour government will repeal the Vagrancy Act 1824. The Vagrancy Act 1824 is an Act of Parliament which makes it an offence to sleep rough or beg. Anyone who is found to be sleeping rough or begging in public can be arrested.
Labour will say that the priority should be to support the less fortunate and to not criminalise them. The legislation creates further austerity and has a very hostile approach when it comes to dealing with homelessness in this country. Reports have stated that those convicted under the Vagrancy Act can be fined up to £1, 000 and can leave those convicted under the act with a two-year criminal record.
Jeremy Corbyn MP said:
Final Comment from Editor- Heidi Boahen
According to homeless link’s latest publication of research in January 2018, 4, 751 individuals are estimated to be sleeping rough on any one night. This indicates an increase of 15 % from 2016- 2017. 600 homeless people have died in England and Wales last year according to official figures.
In addition, over 300, 000 people are currently homeless in the UK according to Shelter. It is, therefore, no secret that austerity has taken over the UK and the current Conservative government does not seem to understand the importance of keeping the need of the people first. Housing Secretary, James Brokenshire who has also been the MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup since 2010, has recently stated that the government policies such as welfare cuts are not to blame for the rise in homelessness but rather the breakdown of families and drug use are. As much as there are many factors that contribute to being homeless, it is ignorant to state that the policies created under the current government have not contributed to the rise in homelessness, with figures even stating the number of people sleeping rough has more than doubled since 2010. The Housing Secretary’s comment has angered many homeless people but also people who are not homeless. They understand that many who are homeless do not want to be and just need the right support system.
It has been reported that a homeless man died on the street after collapsing outside parliament this week. As it seems now, the Labour Party is the only party willing to set up a plan to overcome this crisis. To help the many who are neglected by the current government.