Accordng to Ekklesia Westminster Council has opened a four week consultation on a new byelaw which will fine people in the Victoria area if they “lie down or sleep in any public place”, “deposit bedding” and distribute free food and drink.
This byelaw will affect rough sleepers and charity workers in the Vitoria area,particularly the area around Westminster Cathedral where charities regularly give food to homeless persons
The consultation period is running until 25 March.
A copy of the proposed byelaw can be sen here. The bye law, if enacted, will make the following illegal in an area around Westminster Cathedral:
- No person shall lie down and sleep in any public place
- No person shall at any time deposit any sleeping materials used or intended to be used as bedding in or on any public place
- No peson shall distribute any free refreshment in or on any public place (sporting events and free samples of food excepted)
- No person shall knowingly permit any person to distribute any free refreshment in or on any public place
Banning rough sleepers and charities that provide food to them will solve absolutely nothing either except to move the problem to another area. From the council's perspective (and to paraphrase Stalin) it's a case of "No homeless, no problem"... at least the problem will not be across Victoria Street from the council HQ.
It's not law yet and hopefully it will be ditched but the proposal hardly sits well with Cameron's Big Society... Then again the council is not exactly known for its compassion (remember Shirley Porter?)