Westminster pushes for homeless ban as charity calls for defiance


6:30 pm - April 7th 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


      Share on Tumblr

Westminster Council have decided to continue with the process of preparing a by-law to criminalise rough sleeping and the distribution of food to homeless people in the Victoria area, Housing Justice, a charity that convenes the London Soup Run Forum learnt today.

Westminster Council closed a month long consultation on the by-law on Friday the 25th of March, after receiving over 500 responses and petitions.

The controversial by-law has been opposed by a diverse range of voices including the Methodist Church, Liberty, The Passage Day Centre in Victoria, the British Medical Association, Churches Together in Westminster and Church Action on Poverty.

Campaigners have staged two mass ‘lie down’ protests in Victoria, and hundreds gathered on the 20th of March for a street party against the by-law.

Alison Gelder, director of Housing Justice said today

We are deeply disappointed to learn that Westminster Council will continue with this draconian law which will criminalise compassion and conflict with the good work being done by the Greater London Authority and voluntary groups to end rough sleeping

Jad Adams, from Croydon homeless charity Nightwatch says that if the by-law comes into force

I would consider it a civic duty to defy an unjust law and encourage others to do the same

Meanwhile, members of the London Soup Run Forum are preparing a new code of conduct with which they plan to self – regulate their activities in the face of criticism from Westminster Council.

The proposed by-law 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 the 1,600 people it is estimated sleep rough in Westminster each year, many of whom bed down in the Victoria area.

Many voluntary groups, ‘soup runs’, hand out food in the Victoria area, especially at Howick Place behind the House of Fraser. These groups will be facing the possibility of moving or being fined for their charity if the ban goes ahead.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: News

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


1. Chaise Guevara

“The proposed by-law 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. ”

Sell the food and drink for 1p a go. Seriously. It’s not a solution to the problem but it’s a workable stop-gap.

I can only express surprise that Westminster Council are not banning disabled residents as well. Perhaps we will be told that only goes to demonstrate the humanity of the council.

Following the homes for votes scandal in the 1980’s this is yet another example of Tory controlled Westminster Councils contempt for the poorer members of our society.

Let’s have a mass disobedience involving charities, church groups and the Sally Army openly defying this invidious piece of legislation. Refuse to pay the fines and watch the court system grind to a halt. Even Westminster Council might think twice about prosecuting the Salvation Army!

Perhaps we should ask Pret A Manger and M&S how they feel about being criminalised for donating their unsold food to the homeless like they have for many years. Maybe they should consider a “rate strike” as a retaliatory measure?

Time for another Tory U-turn perhaps?

I’m sure Westminster will be building camps soon so that they can send them their undesirables.

“I’m sure Westminster will be building camps soon so that they can send them their undesirables.”

Any ideas about the likely locations of the camps? Scotland and Wales, perhaps, or the north of England?

@1. Chaise Guevara

that could actually be workable and is a properly cheeky solution

The right-wing remind me of the Terminator:

“Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.

You still don’t get it, do you? He’ll find her! That’s what he does! That’s ALL he does!”

Blogging (http://radref.blogspot.com/2011/04/poltics-of-soup-and-suffering.html) and talking about this all day. What Westminster Council are planniing is ill-informed and cynical. Rendering homeless people safely invisible is no solution to a problem. Whilst mobile food distribution is a direct approach it soup run organisers and volunteers have an often priceless personal connection with guests, as well as the immediate nutritional value of food provided. The Council should return to their senses, scrap the ban and talk to us.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    As Westminster proceeds with homeless ban, charity calls on civic defiance http://bit.ly/eOztyl

  2. steve conway

    RT @libcon: As Westminster proceeds with homeless ban, charity calls on civic defiance http://bit.ly/eOztyl

  3. Caer

    RT @libcon As Westminster proceeds with homeless ban, charity calls on civic defiance http://bit.ly/eOztyl

  4. Juliet

    RT @libcon: As Westminster proceeds with homeless ban, charity calls on civic defiance http://bit.ly/eOztyl

  5. don't ask don't tell

    RT @libcon: As Westminster proceeds with homeless ban, charity calls on civic defiance http://bit.ly/eOztyl

  6. Ian 'Cat' Vincent

    Westminster pushes for homeless ban as charity calls for defiance
    http://liberalconspiracy.org/?p=23332

  7. CHRIS WALTON

    RT @Caer23: RT @libcon As Westminster proceeds with homeless ban, charity calls on civic defiance http://bit.ly/eOztyl

  8. dodgyhoodoo

    RT @catvincent: Westminster pushes for homeless ban as charity calls for defiance
    http://liberalconspiracy.org/?p=23332

  9. Tom Williams

    http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/04/07/as-westminster-proceeds-with-homeless-ban-charity-calls-on-civic-defiance/

  10. rachel holden

    Westminster pushes for homeless ban as charity calls for defiance | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/GQrPegm via @libcon

  11. Pat McGuigan

    RT @libcon: As Westminster proceeds with homeless ban, charity calls on civic defiance http://bit.ly/eOztyl

  12. Sarah Mann

    RT @libcon: As Westminster proceeds with homeless ban, charity calls on civic defiance http://bit.ly/eOztyl

  13. David Gilmour's Blog

    RT @libcon: As Westminster proceeds with homeless ban, charity calls on civic defiance http://bit.ly/eOztyl

  14. Amy L. Sells

    RT @the_blog: RT @libcon: As Westminster proceeds with homeless ban, charity calls on civic defiance… http://bit.ly/eOztyl

  15. James Iain McKay

    http://t.co/byRRpi6 /via westminster council continues with its vulgar ban on homeless. #toryideology #wereNOTallinittogether #ukuncut

  16. James Iain McKay

    RT @libcon: As Westminster proceeds with homeless ban, charity calls on civic defiance http://bit.ly/eOztyl

  17. Katy

    I have no words on this apart from how much this disgusts me. http://bit.ly/fjuaYS

  18. Nick Talbot

    U couldn't make it up:Westminster pushes for homeless ban as charity calls for defiance | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Jm3s6KC via @libcon

  19. Watchman

    RT @libcon: As Westminster proceeds with homeless ban, charity calls on civic defiance http://bit.ly/eOztyl





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.