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Braverman hits out at ‘nuisance’ homeless tents blighting UK streets

04 Nov 2023 4 minute read
Photo Niall Carson/PA Wire

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said she wants to put a stop to the “nuisance and distress” caused by homeless people pitching tents on public streets.

The Cabinet minister said the UK “cannot allow our streets to be taken over by rows of tents” occupied by people who she said were mainly from abroad and “living on the streets as a lifestyle choice”.

She said that unless there was action, then British cities could see an “explosion of crime, drug taking, and squalor” that she said San Francisco and Los Angeles in the United States had witnessed.

Mrs Braverman made the comments on X, formerly known as Twitter, as she shared an article from the Financial Times reporting about how she is pushing for restrictions on the use of tents in urban environments.

According to the report, the senior Conservative’s proposals include establishing a civil offence to deter charities from giving tents to homeless people.

It said charities could be fined for handing out tents if they are deemed to have caused a nuisance under plans being pitched to be included in the King’s Speech, which will set out the UK Government’s legislative agenda on Tuesday.

The potential legislation would look to prevent the obstruction of shop doorways by rough sleepers who are using tents, the FT said.

Lifestyle choice

Mrs Braverman, who is currently on a visit to the Greek island of Samos, tweeted on Saturday: “The British people are compassionate. We will always support those who are genuinely homeless.

“But we cannot allow our streets to be taken over by rows of tents occupied by people, many of them from abroad, living on the streets as a lifestyle choice.

“Unless we step in now to stop this, British cities will go the way of places in the US like San Francisco and Los Angeles, where weak policies have led to an explosion of crime, drug taking, and squalor.

“Nobody in Britain should be living in a tent on our streets.

“There are options for people who don’t want to be sleeping rough, and the Government is working with local authorities to strengthen wraparound support including treatment for those with drug and alcohol addiction.

“What I want to stop, and what the law abiding majority wants us to stop, is those who cause nuisance and distress to other people by pitching tents in public spaces, aggressively begging, stealing, taking drugs, littering, and blighting our communities.”

Fresh powers

The Home Office said it could not comment on what might feature in the King’s Speech.

But officials pointed to the Antisocial Behaviour Action Plan announced in March, which included proposals to provide police and councils with fresh powers to “address rough sleeping and other street activity where it is causing a public nuisance”.

The plan said officers should be able to “clear the debris, tents and paraphernalia that can blight an area, while ensuring those genuinely homeless and with complex needs are directed to appropriate support”.

A spokesman for the Home Office said: “We want to ensure our communities feel safe and secure.

“That’s why, through our Anti-Social Behaviour Plan, we introduced a package of new measures to better equip the police and local authorities to respond to nuisance begging and rough sleeping, which can be harmful to individuals themselves and to the wider public.”

In September, the UK Government was warned by the Kerslake Commission, a panel of 36 experts, that it was not on target to meet its goal of ending rough sleeping by the next general election, which must take place by January 2025.

It published its Ending Rough Sleeping For Good strategy in September 2022 in which it restated a 2019 manifesto commitment to end rough sleeping by the end of this Parliament.

Monthly breakdown

The Welsh Government publishes a monthly breakdown of the number of rough sleepers by local authority.

Last month it reported that at 31 August 2023, there were an estimated 167 individuals sleeping rough throughout Wales.

This is 7 fewer than the 174 individuals sleeping rough at 31 July 2023. Local authorities are asked to base these estimates on local intelligence, not a one-night count.

Cardiff (43), Newport (31), Pembrokeshire (18), Ceredigion (13), Gwynedd (10) and Swansea (10) were the local authorities reporting the highest numbers of individuals sleeping rough. All other local authorities reported 9, or fewer, individuals sleeping rough, with five local authorities reporting zero.

Figures published earlier this year showed that the number of people estimated to be sleeping rough in England had risen for the first time since 2017.

A snapshot of a single night in autumn last year found 3,069 people sleeping rough, up 626 (26%) on the equivalent total for 2021 and nearly three-quarters (74%) above the level in 2010 when the figures were first recorded.


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Dai Rob
Dai Rob
6 months ago

Evil.

Jeff
Jeff
6 months ago

Don’t forget, who put her back in post. She is not censored for this or any of the vile language around vulnerable people. This is the Tory ethics on show, now, in real time.

Her one liners now seem to be “we cannot allow [insert far right ideals]”

And they will go after charities that are there to try to help people because her government will not.

Alwyn Evans
Alwyn Evans
6 months ago

That woman really is unbelievable. From my observation, most of the homeless are NOT from abroad, but are from UK, and definitely NOT on the streets as a ‘lifestyle choice’. It’s astonishing how she manages to bring a racist overtone to everything she touches

Rob Foster
Rob Foster
6 months ago
Reply to  Alwyn Evans

Not only are most of the homeless people we see on our streets actually from the UK, but a good percentage of them are ex-servicemen and women (around 6%) who have served their country loyally and find themselves homeless through no fault of their own. None of this matters to table-slamming Tory horrors like Braverman, obviously.

Richard 1
Richard 1
6 months ago

Soft on the causes of homelessness. Crueller on the homeless

Barbara H.
Barbara H.
6 months ago

Braverman continues to dog whistle at everything. Lifestyle choice??? The poor and vulnerable don’t have a lifestyle!

Last week I saw two people sleeping side by side on Praed St in Paddington at 7.30am.

I’ve seen homeless people moved on by security from the toilet facilities at Paddington station.

So while Braverman is tucked up warm and safe in her privileged world, British citizens are suffering.

oatmaster
oatmaster
6 months ago

Senior figure in crappest Government in living memory wants to remove visible signs of their failure. I am shocked.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
6 months ago

Here we go again. Why doesn’t fascist Suella Braverman just keep her big bigoted mouth shut. She now wants to clear the streets of homeless people. Why? Because it’s a physical embodiment of failure & neglect by her idiocratic government.

And where the Conservative party prefers bankers to receive billions in bonuses, and she dreams of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda , this Tory idiocracy now favours sweeping the streets clean of those sleeping rough to hide society’s ills they’ve shaped absolutely pathetic.

Marc
Marc
6 months ago

Those pesky homeless are such a nuisance and don’t get me started on the mentality I’ll. lolling about all over the pavements, haven’t these people got homes to go to!

Valerie Matthews
Valerie Matthews
6 months ago

How the hell does this incompetent woman stay in her job? You don’t want tents on the streets? THEN FIND THEM ALL HOMES! Problem solved!

Bill
Bill
6 months ago

What about the distress faced by those who are homeless. Often harassed by the more arrogant among us.
Cruella seems to think that it is ok to stigmatize these people. Remember they are REAL people.
I despise her

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
6 months ago

The evidence points to Welsh and Scottish peoples being compassionate to those worse off in society. The tory-voting english seem to do all they can to NOT help those worse off. She certainly lives up to the moniker of Cruella braverman!

Bethan
Bethan
6 months ago

Heinous.

Put me in a room with this woman.

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
6 months ago

Typical Tory causing homelessness because of their policies and then blaming people for being homeless. Hasn’t Braverman heard there’s a housing crisis throughout the UK caused by her government

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
6 months ago

From the comments here, which could be described as a kind of snapshot into what the ‘law abiding majority’ thinks, Cruella completely wrong about their feelings. I’m sure they want to see homelessness ended, but not through the cruel and unfeeling methods that Cruella is advocating. Yes, indeed, some of our streets are beginning to resemble those of San Francsico and for much the same reasons, a complete lack of genuinely affordable homes. Braverman is also correct in saying that ‘Nobody in Britain should be living in a tent on our streets’ but that conveniently ignores the actions taken by… Read more »

Richard 1
Richard 1
6 months ago

This root of this problem is that, in right wing thinking, land can justly be owned as private property without regard for the needs of the landless. In reality, private property in land is theft or, at least, the almost equivalent crime of receiving stolen goods. What we need is government to impose a remedy – a system for landowners to repay society for what has been stolen. The necessary system has been well described for 200 years; it’s best known as “Land Value Taxation”

Richard 1
Richard 1
6 months ago
Reply to  Richard 1

On 2nd thoughts I withdraw the word “almost”. Receiving stolen goods is just as bad as stealing them.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
6 months ago

The Tories really are well out of touch with the thoughts and feelings of the vast majority of the general public. Braverman needs a stint in opposition and even a period of being stuck in a tent herself to fully realise no one chooses to be cold, hungry and homeless.

Frank
Frank
6 months ago

Unbelievable!!!! She’ll be wanting to eliminate the homeless next. We’ve heard over the past few days about Boris saying that covid was nature’s way of getting rid of the elderly and then Matt Hancock wanting to choose who should live and who should die and now we have Braverman!!! What sort of heartless people have we got in power?

Last edited 6 months ago by Frank
Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
6 months ago

A high ranking minister in a so called ‘government’ which has refused entirely to govern for its’ electorate for almost a full four years now and which has pulled a stunt with the economy that has resulted in the maximum removal of cash from its’ victims not least mortgage payers, many of whom have LOST their homes via repossessions (kept quiet) now complaining about people living in tents on the streets. Really?

Mawkernewek
6 months ago

Is this visit to a Greek island a holiday or a speaking engagement at a far right conference? Whatever it is I assume taxpayers are paying.

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
6 months ago

‘Rough sleeping’ tent dwellers in ‘tent cities’ are now a widespread problem in many so-called ‘advanced’ countries like the USA and Canada as well as in Britain. Braverman’s grotesque accusation that such wretched homelessness is ‘a lifestyle choice’ is totally indefensible and only possible from a Minister in an incompetent and morally bankrupt government. Poverty, homelessness and despair on such a scale should not exist in what are supposedly some of the richest countries on earth. The West really is bankrupt – both financially and morally. And what is Drakeford’s wonderful administration doing about our own rough sleeper problem in… Read more »

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