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Being homeless is not a crime - Gov should repeal the Vagrancy Act

January 31, 2019 11:30 PM
By Rugby Lib Dems

Layla Moran MPLiberal Democrats call on the Government to repeal the Vagrancy Act. The Act criminalises people for sleeping rough, deeming them "rogues and vagabonds".

The 1824 Vagrancy Act was drafted with soldiers coming home from the Napoleonic Wars in mind. It's a cold, archaic relic from a bygone age.

It has been used over 3000 times between 2014 and 2016, resulting in hundreds of homeless people being brought before the courts for being in violation of the Act.

Liberal Democrat MP, Layla Moran (Oxford West and Abingdon) held an Adjournment debate in the House of Commons on 30 January 2019 and called for the abolition of this unfair legislation. The Liberal Democrats demand better than a law that is so outdated it was even opposed by William Wilberforce.

But the Government refused to budge, again. All they'd commit to was a review that was already ongoing. They're sitting on their hands in the middle of a national tragedy.

We all know there is no one single cure-all for homelessness. But we must protect people who are ending up on the streets. Many of them are struggling with mental or physical health issues - they aren't criminals. Where's the logic in large fines for people who can barely afford to eat?

Moving people on, issuing fines and putting them in prison cells should be a national source of shame. That's why Liberal Democrats are passionate about repealing this Dickensian Act.

Liberal Democrats want a society that cares for those that have fallen on hard times and treats them with compassion, not a prison cell.

Parliament must join the Liberal Democrats in supporting the end of this legislation. We owe it to the hundreds of thousands of people that the system has let down.

Find out more and add your support for a change in the law here: https://www.libdems.org.uk/repeal-vagrancy-act