The Tories have a new policy on homelessness: make it illegal.
That is the extraordinary intention of a Conservative flagship council.
Westminster city council, the richest and most powerful council in the UK, is proposing a new bye-law to ban rough sleeping and “soup runs” in the Victoria area of London.
The proposed new bye-law will make it an offence punishable by a fine to “sleep or lie down”, “deposit materials used as bedding” and to “give out, or permit another to give out, food for free”.
Last year, the Tories in Westminster spent £3,973,952 on 12 temporary staff, all of whom cost the council over £500 a day. The highest paid temporary staff member, a temporary head of regeneration and partnerships, costs the council £745 a day and has cost £453,446 for the 608 days the person has worked for the council.
A senior project manager, charges £600 a day, costing the council £852,600 for
1,421 days work, while a senior business analyst, charging £521 a day, has cost the council £827,400 for 1,588 days work. Overall, the council spends £10.5 million a year on temporary staff.
You can buy a lot of soup for £3,973,952.
Yet the council is cutting over £1 million from voluntary sector grants over the next two years, a cut of 25%. Nearly £60,000 (39%) is being cut from the financial support given to information and advice agencies – the sort of people that give advice to the homeless.
Direct support to the homeless is to be cut by £967,000 over the next two years.
No wonder they want to make it illegal to sleep in a cardboard box.