Laura Sharman 08 April 2022

Consultation on replacing Vagrancy Act is launched

Consultation on replacing Vagrancy Act is launched image
Image: Peyker / Shutterstock.com

The Government has launched a consultation on replacing an 'outdated' law that criminalises homeless people.

It announced earlier this year it was looking to repeal the Vagrancy Act 1824, which makes it an offence to sleep rough or beg in England and Wales.

The consultation will shape replacement legislation and seeks views on how to respond effectively to begging, potential penalties for harmful begging and how to encourage vulnerable people to engage with rehabilitative support.

Rough sleeping and housing minister, Eddie Hughes, said: 'No-one should be criminalised simply for having nowhere to live, and it is right that we repeal the outdated Vagrancy Act.

'We must balance our role in providing essential support for vulnerable people with ensuring that we do not weaken the ability of police to protect communities.'

Campaigners, MPs and Peers have long been calling for the 'archaic' legislation to be scrapped, warning it is ‘inhumane’ and unfit for purpose.

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