Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless


8:59 am - February 28th 2011

by Sunder Katwala    


      Share on Tumblr

The richest Tory-run Council in the country is seeking to ban soup kitchens for the homeless from an area around Westminster Cathedral. Labour Uncut has provided the documents to prove that they really hadn’t made up the story with a “you couldn’t make it up” feel to it.

A controversy over banning soup kitchens could prove particularly toxic for the “big society”.

Coming so soon after much ‘big society tsar has too little time for the role’ satire, the big idea could certainly do without another existential credibility controversy, while Steve Hilton seeks to patiently nurse it back to health.

There is legitimate debate about the role of soup runs in providing help to the most vulnerable. The LSE produced a balanced report on the issues in Westminster. While homeless charities are keen to promote alternative provision, it seems very unlikely that civic voices which are widely trusted would support the ban as a way to do this.

Westminster Council dropped a push for a London-wide soup run ban in 2007. Critics suggest one foreseeable effect of the current proposals will be to push rough sleepers to other boroughs.

Homelessness will return as a political issue this year – and this may come to be seen as one early skirmish in a much broader policy and political battle. As I has noted before, the Tory-led Coalition government is quietly planning to weaken current statutory homelessness provisions.

Westminster Council has been leading the push on this – lobbying ministers over a series of specific ways in which the government might weaken the legal duties of councils to house the homeless, believing that this will be necessary to handle the fallout from their housing benefit changes.

This is not a discussion that Coalition Ministers are keen to have in public at this stage – and Liberal Democrats with an interest in social housing, such as Simon Hughes, or local government will be put on the spot if and when the plans are unveiled.

Lord Freud has publicly suggested that the legal duty to provide “adequate housing” could be redefined, as it may seem rather too strong.

Westminster Council is claiming its proposed bye-laws are motivated only by what is best for the homeless.

You can be pretty sure that the Coalition government will claim the same, when it does produce plans to weaken statutory duties to assist those who are homeless.

—–
A longer version is at Next Left

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
Sunder Katwala is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He is the director of British Future, a think-tank addressing identity and integration, migration and opportunity. He was formerly secretary-general of the Fabian Society.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Blog ,Equality ,Fight the cuts

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


Absolutely despicable.

It’s only a matter of time before they ban homelessness altogether and round up the vagrants for their own good.

How typical that a Tory council should attack those most hurt by government cuts. At a time when money is tight for most people it is difficult to understand why, and how councillors can leave the vulnerable ‘out in the cold’.

Perhaps it seems logical at an economic level, but let’s look at some simple realities. If homeless and roofless people cannot access food they will steal, or beg. If they do the former they are more likely to be arrested and prison costs a great deal more than a soup kitchen – similarly with begging as they will be locked up overnight if they continue to be a ‘public nuisance’.

Further evidence that Tory policies are ill-conceived and poorly designed..

Absolutely unbelievable.

@ 3 Lee Griffin

I find it quite believable; just another example of the Coalition saying one thing but doing another. If they can’t even be trusted to support the provision of soup kitchens for the homeless, how do they expect people to take the Big Society seriously?

I suppose one has to ask how many were being helped by this service and whether there are alternatives such as the Salvation Army? This is very Big Society if charities are doing what the council used to.

It would also be useful to know how much is being saved? If it’s only a few quid then this is a despicable bit of gesture politics.

6. David Boothroyd

Cherub: You misunderstand – it’s not the council cutting a service it has been providing. They want to bring in a bylaw to make it illegal for anyone to distribute food in public in the defined area, punishable by a fine of up to £500. In fact it goes wider – anyone who permits food to be distributed would be liable to prosecution.

I think the people at Westminster Council need to take a long look in the mirror and try to discover precisely how they reached such a morally degraded state.

But I do not have much hope of that happening.

Does this mean we can finally throw the bathwater that is the big society out now? It has become quite clear at this point that there isn’t a baby in there.
I can only conclude that the big society was an elaborate prank pulled on the electorate that only Tories find funny.

C’mon but at least we’re going to have a referendum on AV.

@6 My mistake. What a disgusting policy, it really does prove that the Nasty Party is alive and kicking.

As usual, I await with baited breath Labour’s response.

Hold on a minute though. Wasn’t this supposed to be at the heart of Cameron’s ‘mission’, the charity sector providing services to those that need it most? Clearing away the red tape that stopped people for getting invovled? Government getting out of the way?

Why I am I not surprised to see the Tory Vermin trying to push for a ban on charities giving food out on the streets? Why is it that I am not surprised that the TV is attempting to drive the poor out of their neighbourhood?

This is the Big flaw in the ‘Big Society’. The Big Society is being pushed by the very people who care least about ‘Society’ (big or small) or have any concern for the people that the ‘Big Society’ is supposed to help. The Tory Party are made up of largely greedy, misanthropic sociopaths who care about nothing other than the lining in their own pocket.

As I said in an earlier thread, we only have to look at the events in Libya to see the ‘Big Society’ in action. When a few hundred well off oil workers were trapped in an unstable Country of their choosing, Cameron and Clegg did not expect ‘well meaning volunteers’ to step in with various Heath Robinson approaches to rescue them. Nor did they except these people to saved by asterism, no, they sent in the best trained, highly funded, gold plated pension owning, public service people they could find.

If we can afford to spend millions on saving a few hundred from themselves, they can damn well afford to give respite care to disabled people’s carers.

12. Suburban Tory

Dishonest article from Lib Con yet again.

You fail to highlight that Homeless charities Thames Reach and St Mungo’s backed the plans saying street handouts do little to help people”.

But I guess facts like that get in the way of your “EVIL TORIES” message.

I’m not sure about this. I have eaten at free food places and soup runs over the years, although not in London. But have been around Westminster enough to see the scale of the problem there, and outside Westminster Cathedral just by McDonald’s has always been a favoured place for a few people to be sitting there sharing some cheap alcohol and passing the time of day. A soup run that is known to be coming to a certain place in the evening will attract people to that area, and maybe a couple of hours before, people may start to gather in anticipation.

I think there could be grounds to object to what the unofficial homless support providers do. As it lacks any coordination or concern about knock on effects.

I spent a few months in Dublin last year and got to know quite a few homeless people.
They are often more than just simple charity cases who need shelter and feeding. They were all getting nearly 200 euros a week unemployment benifit, but mostly blew that in two days on drink and drugs. Everything else they got was free. Free hostels and free food at some church run centres. The rest of the day was spent just wandering around Dublin and hanging out at favoured spots, such as the boardwalk anong the river. When you go down there the place is trashed with beer cans, litter and needles too.. I can see how some local people might object if a soup run came down there in the evening, as it would encourage people to congregate there,
http://www.aidan.co.uk/md/IeDEdenQyBdwlk5806.jpg

I met guys from eastern europe who were living rough or staying in hostels and drinking quite a lot every day, who said that they stayed in Dublin because everything was free.
For some young guys in their 20s it was all a bit of a laugh and an adventure. Being a hobo vagabond in western europe. Meeting people and just hanging out. It’s the kind of thing that Jack Kerouac romantasised in his novels. Freedom.

Also, the ”Big Issue” is being totally missused here in Belfast. Now it’s only sold by Romanian Roma people, who are selling it at traffic light junctions to people in their cars, as sales must have dropped off from selling it the regular way, as there are so many of them outside the shops and in the city centre – every time you go out – that people have stopped buying it.
Because they are not homeless at all, but it has become their job.

So, a good idea has gone to pot.
And similar negative side effects might come about because of street soup runs.

“street handouts do little to help people”.

If the council proposed an alternative, then you may have a point. But they haven’t – it is about removing people from the area, leaving it for somebody else to sort out.

@ Suburban Tory:

The article you link to quite clearly quotes one particular charity, amongst “other charities”, as being against the bill. It even goes on to focus on the opposition by the Coombe Trust. So I’m afraid you have not presented the gotcha you may have hoped for.

Elsewhere, I find that the chief exec of Thames Reach said this: “There are far too many food handouts coming into central London. Our experience over many years is that soup runs and other handouts do little to assist people to move off of the street. In fact we believe that there is evidence that they act as a magnet bringing people back onto the street and contribute to them staying attached to a street lifestyle.”

I would be keen to see evidence outside of his anecdotal assertions. I don’t know much about homelessness myself but I’m highly doubtful about that last sentence: “we believe that there is evidence” does not instill great confidence, does it?

As for St. Mungo’s, their stated position appears rather more nuanced than you suggest:

“St Mungo’s noted in a statement released to The Pavement that the charity began as a soup run provider, but that over the years it had sought to expand its services, moving away from soup run provision “as it became apparent that it was not the most effective way of providing the best help to the most vulnerable.” However, it said that people should never be discouraged from showing compassion or wanting to help and that it “wholeheartedly” supported volunteer helpers.”

Quotes derived from here:
http://www.thepavement.org.uk/story.php?story=41

It also contains quotes from statements by Shelter and Homeless Link.

16. Sunder Katwala

SuburbanTory@12

That’s silly. The piece states this: “There is legitimate debate about the role of soup runs in providing help to the most vulnerable. The LSE produced a balanced report on the issues in Westminster. While homeless charities are keen to promote alternative provision, it seems very unlikely that civic voices which are widely trusted would support the ban as a way to do this”.

It provides the LSE report link, noting it is a balanced survey of the issues. It also later links to the Mail piece you are presumably referring to, as giving the council’s side of this.

The thrust of the piece is to flag up that the government is quietly planning a larger range of changes to statutory provision on homelessness, which Westminster is promoting more vigorously than any other council, with very little public discussion or debate. So let’s see whether they have moved on this in the next 6-12 months

“The thrust of the piece is to flag up that the government is quietly planning a larger range of changes to statutory provision on homelessness”

Sunder, I think it is vital that this gets more publicity, and also that people are aware that the changes are being made for ideological not financial reasons (prevention costs far less).

We’ve known for decades that the key with homelessness is preventing people from becoming homeless as this reduces the consequences on all. Once a person ends up sleeping rough, the health (both physical and mental) problems become far worse, substance misuse is common (you’d get pissed every night if you were in this position), and the chances of that person obtaining sustained employment drop substationally. A preventative system, particularly if its provided with additional support, stops these problems happening.

The UK has a fairly good preventative system when it operates within the law (gatekeeping is common though), but there are still a number of issues with it that means people can fall through the net. Once this happens, soup kitchens and shelters do play a vital role in keeping people alive but also in helping those who want to turn things around do so. Banning them will simply mean rough sleepers turn into shop-lifters and petty criminals as even a night in the cells becomes preferable. That the tories are seeking to reduce the statutory provisions, rather than extend them as virtually every homeless charity has spent the past decade calling for, illustrates precesily why people think “EVIL TORIES”. This is the usual shite you get from a party of sociological illiterates. Half their grassroots would probably regard it as a good thing if the rough sleepers of london all froze or starved to death instead of making the streets look untidy.

@13 Isn’t that precisely the point of big issue though, that you’re working not begging?

19. Suburban Tory

Sunder

I appreciate that your article is perhaps fairer than the headline and some of the more hysterical comments suggests. (The headline at your site does lack the usual Lib Con hyperbole.)

However, you state that “it seems very unlikely that civic voices which are widely trusted would support the ban as a way to do this”. However, the Chief Executive of Thames Reach supported the policy when it was first suggested in 2007.

From your article – “Critics suggest one foreseeable effect of the current proposals will be to push rough sleepers to other boroughs” – surely there is evidence to suggest that soup runs encourage rough sleepers to move to Westminster to access these services.

Westminster has had its central government funding cut by £35 million – savings will have to be made somewhere. I expect Westminster residents hope that their council tax is spent on providing services to them rather than those attracted to central London by free handouts from well meaning “Faith Groups”.

Suburban Tory @ 12

Again, this rather misses the pont of the ‘Big Society’ doesn’t it? I thought the Big Society was about enabling peopleto sort out local solutions and removing Red Tape from people. If so, then surely we should allow people who want to try and help to feedom to do so?

If it turns out that food handouts do, indeed do little to help then that is fair enough, we get to try something else (whatever that may be).

However, when the Tory decides council that ‘food handout do little to help’ they are doing exactly what the ‘Big Society’ is set up to act against!

The Big Society is supposed to be a reaction to the ‘State knows best’, top down, you will do this or you cannot do that, or you should accept that THIS is the only way to things approach. Yet here is a battle between people of Good Will and a clipboard carrying council employee who wishes to impose HIS version of ‘the truth’ onto everyone else.

Is that EXACTLY what the BIG SOCIETY is supposed to be railing against? Or is it okay for the State to stop people from getting invovled when it is rich people that want to practice a bit of ‘NIMBY?

Tory hypocrites.’

“I expect Westminster residents hope that their council tax is spent on providing services to them rather than those attracted to central London by free handouts from well meaning “Faith Groups”.”

Well leaving aside the fact the ‘free handouts’ (translation: food essential for people to stay alive) tend to be provided by groups not recieving money from the taxpayer, I suspect residents of nearby boroughs will be delighted to have their council tax spent dealing with the fallout from the social cleansing of westminster.

Or maybe they’ll join with westminister and move them along. And so on until the poorest parts of the UK are filled with refugees from London’s social cleansing. Then these new residents will have to listen to Norman Tebbit lecturing them on the need for them to move where the jobs are.

22. Bryan Chalmers

Can you imagine the headlines when someone is fined for giving food to the poor. Even extreme Tory loyalists would be unable to spin that (but I imagine that they will try).

I think that the government will persuade Westminster council to drop this proposal as the resulting press will really be too much for them to bear.

Suburban tory “Thames Reach and St Mungo’s backed the plans saying street handouts do little to help people”.

Thats how they secure their funding they are not independent. And how about the moral aspect knowing that some people have no choice and that could be their only hot meal. I have seen people looking in bins for food I’m sure they’d rather not have to do that.

I saw aprogramme about a homeless guy who took the bus all night around london to keep safe and he got food from soup kitchens. Remember it could happen to you it could happen to any of us.

Suburban Tory makes sense. Let’s all be sensible, and for heaven’s sake not have any hysterical comments.

It’s no big deal folks, we’re only talking about enacting new laws which criminalise lying down and distributing free refreshment – with a special exemption for Starbucks’ marketing drives, obviously!

After all, savings will have to be made somewhere! (Erm, I’m not sure exactly what that has to do with it… but it is the stock excuse for every piece of hateful and unpopular legislation currently being planned, so let’s go with it.)

“savings will have to be made somewhere!”

Might be worthwhile somebody looking at the pay for senior management, contracts for consulting, and expenses for councillors in Westminster over the past few years.

2 points,
The Libdems are not in a coalition with the Tories on Westminster Council,
the way this was reported yesterday I got the impression that the area of the proposed ban was the Borough of Westminster i.e. most of central London. Now it turns out to be a particular site in one of the most crowded bits, near The Palace & Victoria Station.
I hope the confusion wasnt deliberate.

A group in the US called ‘Food Not Bombs’ has been annoying the authorities and police for thirty years. I’ve seen them in San Francisco outside the City Hall. Feeding homeless people and certainly attracting people to the area.
http://www.suite101.com/content/feed-homeless-face-arrest-a18398

28. Suburban Tory

Planeshift

Yes totally agree – councils pay far too much money for Chief Executives. It’s time we started to campaign against the Town Hall Fat Cats.

I guess it had to come : foreseeing the consequences of the budget cuts and their impact on the non-wealthy, the ConDems now see that the law will have to be changed to at least give them a window dressing in terms of statistics. But changes in the law will have other consequences too, furthering a return to the Victorian workhouse. Reading the post and comments on the labour-uncut website, it is somewhat gratifying to see that Westminster’s proposed byelaw is unworkable and could be shown to be absurd by a few practical measures.

“give them a window dressing in terms of statistics.”

They don’t need to. ONS is getting a massive cut, there is currently a consultation on which stats are going to be dropped. I’d say it is those ones likely to be measuring the harmful impacts of tory policy.

#22 I doubt the council would actually try to prosecute any individual on this due to the bad publicity – more likely that they will use it as a stick to stop churches and larger organisations doing soup runs and thus force homeless people out of the area.

Can anyone confirm how else it could be used? For example, if during a peaceful protest, a protester offered their friend a crisp from an open packet, would that be breaking the new bye-law, and could police use it to nab the protester on the spot? I know that sounds ridiculous, but frankly so is this open-ended law, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it could easily be abused in that (and any number of other) way(s).

32. Chaise Guevara

Wow. When are they bringing in the 200% super-tax on wheelchairs and guide dogs? And making it mandatory to kick puppies?

33. the a&e charge nurse

[32] “Wow. When are they bringing in the 200% super-tax on wheelchairs and guide dogs?” – the tories probably would if they could, but in the meantime they have left ATOS to get on with most of the dirty work
http://www.indymediascotland.org/node/23176

34. Iagreewithsally

To a Tory the homeless are the equivalent of rats.

They are simply vermin to them.

Successful = hard working and virtuous, Unsuccessful = lazy
and immoral, and if you’re lazy and immoral whatever bad thing happens to you, you deserve it. It is that simple to the Tory mind and they believe it completely.

Scratch a Tory and you’ll find a Social Darwinist closet Nazi. They will emulate the Nazis behaviour as much as they can get away with.

Good grief. I suggest that any Westminster group wishing to help the homeless defy this ban & set up soup kitchens (using the term loosely) absolutely everywhere across that borough. I’d love to see a copper try to arrest a sally army worker for giving food to the hungry.
Resistance, in this case, could work.

36. Chaise Guevara

I just looked up a “level 2 fine on the standard scale”, which is what you can get for breaking this bylaw. Apparently, the penalty for feeding the hungry in Westminster is to be £500. The people responsible are probably proud of this.

@36

Well quite. I think people need to be brave here and face down such ludicrousness – don’t pay the fine, for example, and flood the media as to why exactly they’re taking that position. Bad laws can be revoked (see: the poll tax) and it’s necessary to resist them IMO.

Mr S. Pill @35, I don’t really agree with your position there. I think a council does have the right to have some control over things like this if they cause side effects for the local area. It can be dismissed as NIMBYism of course, but a soup kitchen or a homeless centre will attract people to those services.

In San Francisco, where homelessness is even more widespread than London, there is a whole subculture of people who live in and around a central SF neighbourhood.
This is St Anthony’s, where they serve hundreds of people food every day and the queues get very long.
http://images0.thebolditalic.com/article_images/5840/images/three_column/tenderlearn2.jpg

Having many homeless services in the area made the neighbourhood a centre of homeless people. They hang about all day.
What to do with them all has always been a problem. Just give them free flats?
They are attracted to San Francisco from all over the US, so it’s a problem that doesn’t really go away.

39. Chaise Guevara

@ 38 Damon

Everybody’s gotta be somewhere. I don’t think the solution is to give them the bum’s rush, let alone penalise those who try to help them.

If a single area is attracting homeless people in large numbers, I admit that’s potentially a problem for that area. Perhaps the solution is to pressure other places to provide basic services for them? Or perhaps the state? I know people don’t like the idea of handouts, but if you literally have nowhere to live you’re hardly getting fat at society’s expense.

The other option (aside from maintaining the status quo) is a race to the bottom where everywhere tries to become as inhospitable as possible. By banning people from both sleeping on the street and giving out free food, Westminster appears to be heading in this direction. During the Great Depression, American towns just used to make homelessness a criminal offence in itself. Fortunately local councils don’t have that authority, but this one at least seems to be doing everything it can to wash its hands of the unfortunate.

So they do everything they can to get rid of the homeless. And so does the next town, and the next. Where exactly do they expect these people to go? It’s “out of sight, out of mind” thinking if ever I saw it.

The only reason I raise those points Chaise Guevara, is that this being LC, there does tend to be a certain dogmatic liberal view that pushes its way forward quite often, which doesn’t appreciate certain points of view that challenge it.

I certainly think that councils have a duty to have properly funded homless services if there is a need for them. But there can also be too much provision of sevrices which will just kill any incentive for people to change their lives. I have experienced it myself, where the idea of looking for some rubbish low paid job just wasn’t attractive enough to give up the dole and free rent. If you can get free food too, what else would you need?
In San Francisco in the 80s, roughing it was definitely a way of life that was sustainable.
You could get put up for free in slum hotels for a few days at a time, and every day there was a choice of a half dozen or more places to get fed for free..
Sunday was a great day and you were spoiled for choice.
The best was a place up in the Haight-Ashbury district, which did a spread that attracted people to travel miles to it. The people there really made an effort for their homeless geusts on a sunday.
And later, in the afternoon, a Korean church group would turn up in severl cars and vans in another part of the city and they dished out a great feed too.
Putting great effort and care into their cooking and preparing food for the homeless was obviously doing something for them as a church community too.

You could just hang out in the city and be permanently looked after.
The idea of getting a low paid job would seem quite unattractive when you got most of what you needed for free and can spend your days just hanging about waiting for your next meal time.
And that’s what used to annoy the city. People would turn up at places early and just sit in the street socialising or sleeping. Waiting for the food to show up.

Damon @ 40

Difficult to see what the viable alternative is though isn’t it? I doubt, given our Welfare State, that becoming homeless is much of a lifestyle choice. If there are people on the streets who have no real option, I find it quite impossible to distinguish between the real destitute and the greedy bastards who only ‘pretend’ to be at the bottom of the heap for the free food.

However, given that there are enough ‘stupid’ people willing to be duped into providing food for the lifestyle homeless, what really can be done about it? A law to stop people from giving their own time and money to feed these people appears to go against the very ethos of the Government of the day. Yet a Tory led council is attempting to curtail the most basic civil liberty there is, the right to do with your own money what you will. Given that the current political movement appears to be for less government, not more it appears very odd for a Tory Council to attempt to interfere in our lives even further.

Of course I fully understand their fear that providing services to the homeless may attract more into the Borough, but that is not the concern regarding the charities involved, is it?

Isn’t that the dilemma for the Tories? They have ruthlessly cut spending in the poorer communities and then those people are being forced out of said poor communities!

In other words, actions have consequences and Government run on a loose ‘Lord of the flies’ principle is going to have far reaching implications. Faced with that the Party of deregulations, less Government, ‘Big Society’ and charity are being forced to draft up legislation to prevent charities from helping the homeless, the homeless the Tories will have driven onto the streets in an ideological frenzy.

Am I the only person who sees the absolutely delicious Kafkaesque irony in all this? Had it not been for the all too human tragedy it would be rib ticklingly funny.

I agree pretty much Jim. Another thing in the States that is different is that the police will bust people for sleeping in shop doorways, and that signs like this make it plain.
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_rD6LnpisyDA/TIv-SyX-yPI/AAAAAAAAAGI/vRughz-4SSE/s1600/DSC00567.JPG

Having done early morning shop deliveries in The Strand, I have wondered why the police just allow people to bed down in the doorways. I’m sure the shop owners hate it.
With people peeing in them and making a mess. And taking stuff off the truck, with people just waking up in the doorways, you can’t leave the things out of your sight for a second, as I had all kinds of nickable goods like sunscreen, razors, drinks, snacks and shampoos.
Grabbing a 12 pack of Hawaiian Tropic off the top of a cage when the driver wasn’t looking would be a handy way to set up the day. You could flog it for £20, no problem I bet.
This might sound uncharitable, but it’s the sort of thing that Westminster council has to deal with, and is probably the reason they try to control homless services.

Here’s The Pavement homeless website showing soup kitchens and soup runs in London. I didn’t know there were so many.
http://www.thepavement.org.uk/services.php?facility=&service=13&city=1

43. Richard W

It would be kinda funny in a ironic way if one of the clergy was inside the cathedral preaching the example of the good Samaritan, and outside someone was being arrested for following the example of the good Samaritan. I am sure that nut who runs Conservapedia, who is rewriting the bible removing any subliminal liberal messages and making it more free-market friendly would approve. Something along the lines of Jesus threw the poor out of the Temple so the moneychangers could get on with business.

More on the absurdity of the proposed byelaw (taken from http://labour-uncut.co.uk/2011/02/27/westminster-city-council-proposed-byelaw-and-supporting-documents/):.

Clause 3 (“Lying Down and Sleeping Etc”), para 1, says simply:
“No person shall lie down or sleep in or on any public place.”

So whatever you do, don’t fall asleep in Westminster; don’t even close your eyes as the local Sleep Inspector will prod them open and charge you with an offence.

Another way Westminster could deal with the ‘homeless issue’ would be to ensure that local councils around London had enough funding?

Isn’t funny that no-one ever thought to regulate the bankers when they gambled the whole economy away, yet we now think we can regulate a cheese baggette out of Westminster?

So did no one give any time to even the idea that Westminster council could have a right to try to discourage a long term problem group of homless people from living in and around Westminster Cathedral? I’ve seen some of them myself, and they are precisely the kinds of people who professional services need to engage with.

I’m sure Westminster could do a lot more in its services for homeless people, but people who are living rough like that really need to be encouraged (and pushed) into shelters like those run by the Broadway homeless services and hostels.
http://www.broadwaylondon.org/Aboutus

If people say that they don’t want to go, and want to continue sleeping in and around the Cathedral, (which is a residential area too just behind it), then maybe coming out and feeding them there in the evenings just prolongs a situation that just goes on year after year.

The piazza area round Westminster cathedral has had significant numbers of street homeless people for a number of years. There are also very valuable charities who work in that area to try and engage with these often long term entrenched rough sleepers. What the council wants to do is stop the ad hoc food runs which happen nightly around there by well meaning individuals. Whilst there is a clear need for hot food and drinks for street homeless people, is this the best way to do so. It is utterly unplanned, does not work with partner agencies to try and address the difficulties in this area.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless http://bit.ly/ezyhLz

  2. Toni K

    RT @libcon: Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless http://bit.ly/ezyhLz

  3. gemma tumelty

    RT @libcon: Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless http://bit.ly/ezyhLz

  4. iain d broadfoot

    RT @libcon: Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless http://bit.ly/ezyhLz

  5. Jane McCallion

    RT @libcon: Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless http://bit.ly/ezyhLz

  6. MUSHKUSH

    ?! RT: @libcon: Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless http://bit.ly/ezyhLz

  7. Lee Griffin

    RT @libcon Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless http://bit.ly/ezyhLz

  8. Nishma Doshi

    RT @libcon: Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless http://bit.ly/ezyhLz

  9. Mili

    Of course the Big Society is not about returning to a Victorian approach to poverty. Look-they're banning soup kitchens! http://goo.gl/ccS3x

  10. Siren of Brixton

    Westminster Council set the Big Society agenda by banning soup kitchens http://bit.ly/es8j39

  11. Alister Jackson

    This has to be a sick, sick joke “@libcon: Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless http://bit.ly/ezyhLz”

  12. Helen Lambert

    RT @Niaccurshi: RT @libcon Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless http://bit.ly/ezyhLz

  13. Charles H,

    Richest Tory council in London is seeking to ban Soup Kitchens in Westminster. Nice support of the 'big society' there http://t.co/Fc1h2K2

  14. Tim Hardy

    No surprise given Shapps is a property industry shill http://j.mp/9MLSF9 Banning soup kitchens only the start http://t.co/PoBE9zB

  15. Derek Bryant

    RT @libcon: Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless http://bit.ly/ezyhLz

  16. Paul Wood

    They must be *trying* to look evil RT @libcon: Banning soup kitchens is only the start of attack on London’s homeless http://bit.ly/ezyhLz

  17. Double.Karma

    RT @libcon: Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless http://bit.ly/ezyhLz

  18. Martin Warne

    Tory-run Westminster Council seeks to ban soup kitchens for the homeless. How did this fit with the 'Big Society'? – http://bit.ly/ezyhLz

  19. Pamela Heywood

    Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless: "Westminster Council has been lead… http://twurl.nl/xljc7o

  20. Nick H.

    RT @libcon: Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless http://bit.ly/ezyhLz

  21. pajh

    http://bit.ly/e7O6KM Tory council cancels kitchen scraps for widows & orphans. Next: no more merciful beheadings, and CALL OFF CHRISTMAS

  22. Jehane

    RT @gominokouhai: http://bit.ly/e7O6KM Tory council cancels kitchen scraps for widows & orphans. Next: no more merciful beheadings, and…

  23. Shaun C Green

    Richest Tory-run Council in UK seeking to ban soup kitchens for homeless from an area around Westminster Cathedral: http://bit.ly/fvnold

  24. Kelvin John Edge

    RT @libcon: Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless http://bit.ly/ezyhLz

  25. realviktoriya

    RT @libcon: Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless http://bit.ly/ezyhLz

  26. George Marsh

    http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/02/28/why-banning-soup-kitchens-is-only-the-start-of-the-attack-on-homeless/

  27. Censor | adam

    […] our rail fares are (and more on this here), while I hadn’t noticed this previously – Westminster Council apparently planning on banning soup kitchens from certain parts of the borough. ‘Cos, you know, the homeless can fend for themselves, […]

  28. Rick Coyle

    #£500fineifwefeedhomeless http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/02/28/why-banning-soup-kitchens-is-only-the-start-of-the-attack-on-homeless/

  29. obadiah6610

    Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/JNDcyIu via @libcon

  30. Lee Chalmers

    @charlotteahenry http://bit.ly/es8j39 Not good.

  31. Conservative Westminster Council to ban Soup Kitchens and criminalise the homeless | Virtually Naked

    […] Council to ban Soup Kitchens and criminalise the homeless by admin As Liberal Conspiracy highligted last month, Conservative Westminster Council are playing to introduce a by-law that makes it […]

  32. Cyril Matvech

    Puzzled that @William_Bain so ignorant of #LoonyLabour's fight to keep SoupKitchens to feed UK's starving masses open http://t.co/mthKdz26

  33. piston broke

    Puzzled that @William_Bain so ignorant of #LoonyLabour's fight to keep SoupKitchens to feed UK's starving masses open http://t.co/mthKdz26

  34. Pui Shi

    Tory run council looks to ban soup kitchens: Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless http://t.co/TtrAL0bw

  35. noname

    Tory run council looks to ban soup kitchens: Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless http://t.co/TtrAL0bw

  36. paul eric toplass

    Tory run council looks to ban soup kitchens: Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless http://t.co/TtrAL0bw

  37. Robert Newman

    Tory run council looks to ban soup kitchens: Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless http://t.co/TtrAL0bw

  38. Mel@ArtisanCupcakeCo

    Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/AUSc21cV via @libcon

  39. Saffi Ahmad

    Push to shut down soup kitchens for the homeless by London's wealthiest council. Heartless would be an understatement. http://t.co/ZG17GAx5

  40. David Kent

    Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ylwtFJuD

  41. @Gilbertfarrell

    http://t.co/h1ZV2Qrw

  42. DonHarrisonLD

    Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/kPx3cJNn

  43. DonHarrisonLD

    Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/kPx3cJNn

  44. Martin U

    Tory run council looks to ban soup kitchens: Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless http://t.co/TtrAL0bw

  45. Zoe E. Whitten

    Tory run council looks to ban soup kitchens: Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless http://t.co/TtrAL0bw

  46. Becka Sutton

    Tory run council looks to ban soup kitchens: Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless http://t.co/TtrAL0bw

  47. Catherine Brunton

    Tory run council looks to ban soup kitchens: Banning soup kitchens is only the start of the attack on London’s homeless http://t.co/TtrAL0bw





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.