Tag Archives: vagrancy act

7 June 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Police using 200-year old legislation to arrest hundreds of children for rough sleeping
  • OECD inflation prediction: This is a damning verdict on the Government’s economic record
  • Bike theft faces being ‘decriminalised’ as nearly 9 in 10 thefts go unsolved
  • Johnson “hosted friend” at Chequers: Public sick of subsidising ex-PM’s legal fund

Police using 200-year old legislation to arrest hundreds of children for rough sleeping

Data uncovered by Layla Moran and the Liberal Democrats through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request revealed that police forces across the country have arrested 433 children over the last 5 years using the Vagrancy Act.

The FOI asked police forces how many under 18’s had been arrested and charged under the Vagrancy Act over the last 5 years.

Of the 43 forces in the UK, 20 had arrested children. The worst offender was the Metropolitan Police Force in London, which has arrested 152 children in the last 5 years.

One police force, Derbyshire, arrested a 13 year old.

The Vagrancy Act is a piece of 200-year-old legislation which makes it a criminal offence to sleep rough.

In 2022 campaigners succeeded in repealing the legislation in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, but the repeal is yet to come into force in practice. The government claim they need “appropriate replacement legislation” before the repeal comes into force. A public consultation into replacement measures closed in May 2022, but the findings have not yet been published.

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Concern over Cardiff Council plans to tackle begging

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have expressed concerns over Cardiff Council and South Wales Police plans to introduce a new begging protocol which would include the threat and use of fines to tackle begging and street homelessness in the city.

The concerns follow an announcement during Council yesterday that Cardiff Council will work with South Wales Police to implement a new begging protocol based on the Operation Luscombe model.

Operation Luscombe was introduced first by the City of London Police in 2018. The system operates on an escalation model where those found begging or rough sleeping are initially invited to attend an intervention hub which is held every week, but if they do not attend this can then be escalated to a community Protection Warning (Amber), followed by a community Protection Notice (Red) (which may include fines) and are then arrestable if the red ticket is breached (Blue).

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have stated that fining people experiencing homeless and engaging in begging has been shown to have a detrimental effect and should be ruled out.

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1 July 2022 – today’s press releases

  • VAT cut: Ministers need to stop dithering and act now
  • Suspending Chris Pincher should never have taken this long
  • Concern Over Cardiff Council Plans to Tackle Begging
  • Southwark Liberal Democrats Demand More Ambition in Plans to Tackle Air Pollution

VAT cut: Ministers need to stop dithering and act now

Responding to reports the government is considering cutting VAT, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

Families across the UK are facing a cost-of-living emergency. Ministers need to stop dithering and act now.

Liberal Democrats have been calling for an emergency VAT cut for months. It was a key part of our successful by-election campaign in Tiverton and Honiton. Families need it, businesses need it, and voters clearly support it. So why haven’t Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak done it already?

The sad truth is that we have a Government has no plan and a Prime Minister too busy fighting with his own party to help the British people.

Suspending Chris Pincher should never have taken this long

Responding to the news Chris Pincher has had the Conservative whip suspended, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain MP said:

It should never have taken Boris Johnson this long to act and withdraw the whip.

Once again it seems Johnson has had to be forced into doing the right thing

There can be no more cover ups or excuses. If this investigation confirms these serious allegations, Chris Pincher will surely have to resign.

The Liberal Democrat Voice team have recently started to receive more press releases from Council Groups around the country, perhaps a sign of greater confidence and ambition, and we’ll try to publish some of them going forward…

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Layla Moran welcomes scrapping the Vagrancy Act

Layla Moran has been campaigning for years against the archaic Vagrancy Act, which criminalises rough sleepers. Yesterday the Government announced that the Act will be repealed.

She has written about it in the Big Issue under the heading: Scrapping the Vagrancy Act is just the start – now we must end rough sleeping for good.

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Scrapping Vagrancy Act should be part of Queen’s Speech

Embed from Getty Images
Layla Moran has put this very well:

Today it’s still the law for rough sleepers to be arrested and prosecuted for the crime of not being able to afford a roof over their head. It’s a moral outrage that a Victorian-era law continues to punish those who desperately need help.

The clock is ticking for this Government. We urgently need a more compassionate and holistic approach to ending homelessness in this country. There is significant cross-party support for the Vagrancy Act to be repealed as

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30-31 May 2020 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Govt must follow the science when it comes to easing lockdown
  • Govt must rethink plans to shut down virtual Parliament
  • Govt must issue “crystal clear” guidance for those returning to sport
  • Ministers must explain evidence behind decision to ease lockdown
  • Foreign Secretary’s silence on Trump tweets is shameful
  • Govt decision to press on with reopening schools “deeply worrying”
  • Govt must urgently scrap Vagrancy Act as part of plan to end rough sleeping

Govt must follow the science when it comes to easing lockdown

Responding to reports that several members of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group have warned of the risk of easing the lockdown in England on Monday 1 June, Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

The decision by key members of SAGE to go public with their concerns shows that Ministers are no longer following the science.

The test, trace, isolate system that we need to keep people safe is not yet fully functional. The NHSX app is delayed for an unknown period. For seven days straight the Government has been unable to provide even basic data about the number of people tested. On top of these failings, public health messaging has been badly undermined as people see it’s one rule for the Tory elite and another for everyone else.

Given this chaos, measures to lift lockdown appear premature. At every stage the Liberal Democrats have been clear that the Government must listen to the experts and follow the science. Protecting public health and tackling the spread of the virus must always be the Government’s number one priority – many are questioning whether this remains the case.

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26 May 2020 – the day’s press releases

And that brings us back up to date…

  • All Tory MPs must reflect on Govt resignation and call for Cummings to go
  • Govt must invest now in mental health support given impact of COVID-19
  • Govt must scrap Vagrancy Act as part of plan to end rough sleeping for good
  • PM out of touch with public and his own party
  • Govt review into lockdown fines shows one rule for Cummings and one for everyone else
  • Increase in prison staff Covid-19 cases show Govt allowing prisons to become crucible for virus

All Tory MPs must reflect on Govt resignation and call for Cummings to go

Responding to the resignation of a Conservative Minister in protest at the row over Dominic Cummings, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

Countless people have made heartbreaking sacrifices to keep to the Government’s rules, so people are understandably angry about Dominic Cummings’ behaviour.

Douglas Ross recognises it cannot be one rule for senior government officials and one rule for everyone else, so why doesn’t the Prime Minister? Boris Johnson is losing the trust of his own Ministers and his judgement is seriously in question. To tackle this pandemic and save lives, people deserve better.

All Conservative MPs must reflect on this resignation, stop defending the indefensible and put the public health of our country first by calling for the Prime Minister’s scandal-hit spin doctor-in-chief to go.

Govt must invest now in mental health support given impact of COVID-19

Statistics from the ONS show that across Great Britain from 3 April to 3 May 2020, some 80% of adults were worried about the effect that COVID-19 was having on their life. Responding to these figures, Munira Wilson, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care, said:

The majority of people right across the country have experienced a tangible, detrimental mental health impact as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Ministers must recognise that the mental health scars of COVID-19 will be deep. We need to see investment now to ensure that people – regardless of where they live – can access the support they need, when they need it.

That’s why the Liberal Democrats are calling for the Government to urgently increase funding for and provision of mental health support. We are calling for access to mental health support 24/7 for those working in health and care, many of whom are enduring daily trauma, and better funded, clearly signposted support for every single community.

Given the severity of the COVID-19 crisis in the UK, which has unfolded on his watch, the Prime Minister must act to ensure we provide a world-leading mental health response. The recovery of people across our family of nations requires it.

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Being homeless shouldn’t be a crime

The party is quite rightly campaigning to change the Vagrancy Act so that homelessness is not a crime. This is an initiative that has been spear-headed by Layla Moran:

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29 January 2020 – the overnight press release

Layla Moran: “Make 2020 the year that we finally scrap the Vagrancy Act”

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran will today urge the Government to adopt her legislation this year and “finally scrap the Vagrancy Act” during a homelessness debate in Parliament.

The MP will warn that “even one person sleeping rough in this country in 2020 is a disgrace” as she brings back to Parliament her campaign to scrap the Vagrancy Act.

Layla Moran is also expected to warn against the “out of sight, out of mind mentality’” shown in the installation of a new gate close to MPs’ and peers’ …

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1 October 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Rise in homeless deaths demands end of Vagrancy Act
  • UK govt must not be silent on situation in Hong Kong
  • Tories cannot call themselves the law and order party
  • Cable: End ‘weaponising’ of social care

Rise in homeless deaths demands end of Vagrancy Act

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has renewed her call for the Vagrancy Act to be scrapped following the publication of new ONS statistics revealing a rise in the deaths of homeless people in 2018.

The ONS data shows that there were an estimated 726 deaths in 2018, an increase of over 20% on the previous year. The highest numbers of deaths were …

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19 June 2019 – the overnight press release

Vagrancy report shows why we need to scrap the Act

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran will today urge the Government to repeal the Vagrancy Act at the launch of Crisis’ report into the case for repealing.

The MP for Oxford West and Abingdon held a debate in the House of Commons in January on her campaign to repeal the Vagrancy Act, which criminalises rough sleeping in England and Wales. Ms Moran also introduced a Bill to repeal it in February 2018.

The report says that the Act “does not tackle the problems people have, and there is evidence that it can also push …

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Should vagrants be flogged in the street?

From the 14th century it was customary to administer punishment to vagrants in the street in Britain. Some were flogged, some clapped in irons, others dragged around on wooden frames.

At the end of the Middle Ages, society was highly stratified, and most people were not permitted to travel freely. The word vagrant means ‘wanderer’ and to an extent the wanderer was being punished for ‘not being in his or her place’. Many were escapees from rural servitude.

So the fact that the transgression of vagrancy is still on the statute books, might suggest we have not progressed sufficiently …

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27 February 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

I’m a day behind, so time to catch up, I think…

Brexit: Govt approach to citizens’ rights “fundamentally flawed”

Responding to Sajid Javid’s comments that the Government will support Alberto Costa’s amendment on citizens’ rights, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

After being forced into one U-turn on the £65 fee for settled status last month and another on ring-fencing citizens’ rights in case of no-deal today, the Government should finally just admit that their whole approach is fundamentally flawed.

These U-turns are welcome, but the spectacle of the Prime Minister saying one thing yesterday and the Home Secretary saying the

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25 February 2019 – today’s press releases

Lib Dems produce Bill to properly tackle plastics crisis

Today, Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the Environment, will present his Plastic Pollution Bill to Parliament.

The Bill will set targets to help fix our plastics crisis and require the Secretary of State to publish a strategy for the reduction of plastic pollution.

The Bill has been backed by a cross-party group of MPs as well as Friends of the Earth and the Women’s Institute.

Ahead of presenting his Bill, Mr Carmichael said:

Plastic pollution is the scourge of our oceans. The Government must start taking action to reduce our plastic to change our

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31 January 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Govt must follow evidence not chase headlines in fight against knife crime
  • Moran: Rough sleeping shames our whole country
  • Tory Govt woefully unprepared for no deal Brexit
  • Cable: Cancelled recess shows extent of Tory chaos
  • Davey: Shocking new figures expose prison crisis
  • Pharma giant stockpiling emergency trauma packs
  • Huge increase in part-time and postgraduate graduates
  • Cash-strapped councils asked to prepare for no deal is an insult to local services

Govt must follow evidence not chase headlines in fight against knife crime

Responding to the Home Secretary’s plan to give new powers to the police to tackle knife crime, Liberal Demcorat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The UK is in

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29 January 2019 – today’s press releases

“Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”.

I’m afraid that we’re now well into the Lewis Carroll phase of Brexit, but on the plus side, my beloved Luton Town went five points clear at the top of League One…

  • Lib Dems: Safe standing an important opportunity for football fans
  • Travel insurance not guaranteed with no-deal Brexit
  • Lib Dems: Govt continue to scaremonger

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