Home Secretary Suella Braverman, here alongside Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on October 12, described living on the streets as a “way of life”. POOL / VIA REUTERS
The British government on Sunday, November 5, defended its plan to target homeless people who sleep in tents on the street, after provoking outrage by describing the phenomenon as a “way of life”. Rising prices for more than a year in the United Kingdom have led to an increase in poverty and the number of homeless people, especially as the country faces a serious housing crisis.
“It is the government’s responsibility to be able to say, when the people concerned might be in a safer place, that we should not allow tent cities to develop,” said Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden on the BBC. He confirmed that the Conservative government intended to legislate on the matter, as Interior Minister Suella Braverman had indicated the day before.
“We cannot allow our streets to be invaded by entire rows of tents occupied by people, many from abroad, who have chosen as a lifestyle to sleep on the streets,” wrote on X (ex-Twitter) Ms. Bravermanknown for its very right-wing and anti-immigration positions.
Fines for associations helping the homeless
She assured that there were “opportunities for those who do not want to sleep in the street” and said she wanted to put an end to the “nuisance caused by those who pitch their tents in public spaces and beg aggressively, commit stealing, using drugs, littering.”
According to the Financial Times, the project notably provides for fines for associations helping the homeless if they provide tents. The government had promised to get all homeless people off the streets by the 2024 legislative elections, but the situation is deteriorating due to inflation and soaring rents.
The Labor mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, accused the government of “lacking compassion” with the plan. “Living on the streets is not a chosen ‘way of life’, it is a sign of the government’s failure,” said the specialist association Shelter. Latest example of the housing crisis: Edinburgh City Hall on Thursday called on the Scottish government for help in the face of the growing number of families in temporary accommodation.
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