END CRIMINALISATION, END THE HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT!

Some of the most shocking aspects of the homelessness crisis today are driven by policy: migrants experiencing homelessness being denied access to services, and people on the streets being threatened with fines for rough sleeping or begging.

We believe Labour needs to do better. All too often it is Labour local authorities, overstretched by drastic Tory cuts, which are carrying out these heartless policies enabled by Tory governments. Labour’s last manifesto did not end criminalisation of homelessness, and actually expanded ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ status which denies support to migrants. We know this isn’t what Labour stands for - Labour needs to stand on its principles. Labour conference urgently needs to make its view heard.

We are therefore recommending the below motion to Labour conference. We need your help - we need Labour members to submit our motions in your CLP. Every CLP is on a different schedule, but your motion deadline may be this month! Contact us on labourhomelessnesscampaign@gmail.com if you can submit a motion, can give us details of submitting motions in your CLP, or have any questions.

Homelessness - Model Conference Motion

Conference notes:

1. That as homelessness has risen drastically since 2010, there are a number of measures in place which can criminalise begging and rough sleeping, including the 1824 Vagrancy Act, Public Space Protection Orders, Criminal Behaviour Orders, Community Protection Notices and dispersal orders.

2. That so-called ‘enforcement’ measures criminalising people for living in public spaces affect more than 70% of people experiencing homelessness (Crisis).

3. That Jeremy Corbyn and the shadow cabinet pledged to repeal the Vagrancy Act once in government saying 'homeless people need help, not punishment', yet Labour has not yet come out against the other measures which criminalise homelessness.

4. That migrants experiencing homelessness are at risk of further ‘enforcement’ measures, and those with ‘No Recourse To Public Funds’ (NRPF) status can face being denied support and threatened with deportation as a result of interacting with services.

Conference resolves:

1. To call on all local authorities, including Labour councils, to cease use of all the above measures which would criminalise rough sleeping and begging.

2. To call on all local authorities to cease the practice of embedding Home Office immigration officers in their local services, as denying support to migrants is driving the crisis on our streets.

3. To include in the next general election manifesto repeal of the 1824 Vagrancy Act, an end to all powers to regard begging or rough sleeping as ‘anti-social behaviour’, and the abolition of NRPF status.

 

 

Resources:

Official definitions and statistics on criminalisation of homelessness:

https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7836

 

Labour’s manifesto committment to replace immigration income thresholds with an expansion to ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ status:

‘We will replace income thresholds with a prohibition on recourse to public funds.’ - https://labour.org.uk/manifesto/negotiating-brexit/