LGA responds to calls to repeal Vagrancy Act

19 Jun 2019 06:58 PM

Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, responded to a campaign by Crisis to repeal the Vagrancy Act 

“Councils want to help people living on the streets and take a balanced approach to tackle anti-social behaviour raised by local communities, which includes persistent, aggressive begging and intimidating behaviour, which can ruin people’s quality of life, harm businesses or mean people are scared to visit public places.

“Before using their powers, councils will consider how they might affect vulnerable people, often working with community partners to help resolve any ongoing problems, in order to find a long term solution. Enforcement action is always a last resort.

“With rough sleeping, councils are determined to prevent homelessness and rough sleeping from happening in the first place and support families affected, but this is becoming increasingly difficult with homelessness services facing a £421 million funding gap by 2024/25. This has severely limited the ability of councils’ outreach services to support rough sleepers.

“Government needs to use the Spending Review to fund councils sustainably to prevent homelessness in the first place, and to help them resume their historic role as major housebuilders of good-quality, affordable homes. This will help make homelessness a thing of the past and remove housing insecurities for current and future generations.

“Critical to this goal will be allowing councils to keep 100 per cent of their Right to Buy receipts and to set discounts locally.”

Notes to editors

Councils in England face an overall funding gap of £8 billion by 2025. The LGA’s #CouncilsCan campaign aims to influence the forthcoming Spending Review and highlight the growing risk to vital local services if the Government does not take action to secure the financial sustainability of councils. Visit our campaign page for more information.

Scrap the Vagrancy Act