William Eichler 24 December 2018

Labour promises to repeal nineteenth-century Vagrancy Act

Labour promises to repeal nineteenth-century Vagrancy Act image

The Labour Party has announced that they plan to repeal the Vagrancy Act 1824 which criminalises begging and rough sleeping.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow housing minister Melanie Onn say that the priority should be to support, not criminalise, those who are sleeping rough or begging.

The Vagrancy Act was used to bring a criminal charge nearly 3,000 times in 2016 with offences under the act commanding a fine of up to £1,000 and leaving those convicted under it with a two year criminal record.

Labour insists that the nineteenth-century legislation is unnecessary for dealing with anti-social behaviour as a number of other civil measures exist in modern legislation, including civil injunctions and criminal behaviour orders.

‘It should shame us all that rough sleeping has doubled in the last eight years and nearly 600 people died while homeless last year. Homeless people need help, not punishment,’ said Mr Corbyn.

‘The next Labour government will make ending homelessness a priority. We want to build a society which doesn’t walk by on the other side when we see someone in need.’

Ms. Onn commented: ‘It beggars belief that we still use Georgian-era laws to criminalise some of the most vulnerable in society.

‘Treating rough sleepers as criminals does not solve the underlying causes of homelessness and makes it harder for them to access support to move away from the streets.

‘Rather than criminalising rough sleepers Labour would support them, with 8,000 new homes available to those with a history of rough sleeping as part of a plan to eradicate rough sleeping within five years.’

According to the homelessness charity Crisis, over 12,000 people are sleeping rough this Christmas.

Safely into school image

Safely into school

How many plans can be made when it comes to transport to education settings? Liz Davidson reports.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Regeneration Delivery Manager - Heritage Action Zone

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£42684 - £45585 per annum
(Fixed Term Opportunity until March 2024)Woolwich town is undergoing a period of intensive regeneration with huge investment in new housing, transport England, London, Woolwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Assistant Director, Public Protection

London Borough of Merton
£96,840 - £101,193 per annum
You will bring a track record of successful leadership of a comparable range of services in complex public sector organisations. Y Merton, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Merton

Placement Monitoring Officer

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Children and Families service is recognised as a service in which social work can develop and prosper, with a culture of collaboration, integrity and England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Housing Inclusion Team Leader

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£36711 - £39774 per annum
The Royal Borough of Greenwich's Housing Inclusion & Support Service is on a mission to become one of the top service providers in housing support and England, London, Woolwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Business Support Assistant MASH & LAT

City of York Council
£18,865 to £20,013 per annum
There are 2 posts available which will primarily support work in Children’s Social Care. York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue