Nickie Aiken, Member of Parliament for the Cities of London & Westminster, led a debate in Westminster Hall today on support for rough sleepers this winter.
The Two Cities have some of the highest levels of rough sleeping in the UK.
Nickie opened the debate with a speech outlining her desire to repeal the 1824 Vagrancy Act and replace it with legislation allows for assertive outreach that puts protection, not criminality, at its heart. She also highlighted the need for both local and national government to work together to resolve rough sleeping.
In closing the debate, the Under-Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Kelly Tolhurst specifically referenced the Vagrancy Act stating the government is currently reviewing it. She also iterated that the Government will not criminalise, and do not want to criminalise, individuals who are rough sleeping. You can watch a video of Nickie’s opening speech in the debate above.