Member of Parliament for the Cities of London & Westminster, Nickie Aiken, spoke out in the House of Commons Chamber to champion support services for the most vulnerable people in our society.
Following the publication of the Anti-Social Behaviour Plan, Nickie sought reassurances that the Plan would not bring back the Vagrancy Act through the back door, but would instead ensure services and resources for those who need support.
In the House of Commons, Nickie said,
"I welcome the Government’s antisocial behaviour action plan. I know that the vast majority of my constituents will join me in welcoming the policies aimed at tackling organised begging gangs and nuisance beggars.
"Will my right hon. and learned Friend assure me and my constituents that this is not about bringing back the Vagrancy Act by the backdoor, but that there is a plan to ensure that those in need who are begging on the street will be provided with the services they need, because the vast majority are suffering from mental health and addiction problems?
"We must remember that not all rough sleepers are beggars and not all beggars are rough sleepers."
Home Secretary, Suella Braverman MP, replied,
"My hon. Friend is absolutely right. She has put in considerable effort to tackle this issue on the frontline, both in her role as a Member of Parliament and as a former leader of Westminster City Council. It requires a nuanced and thoughtful approach. We are repealing the Vagrancy Act, but we are also making it clear that we will prohibit organised and nuisance begging. We will introduce new tools to direct individuals to vital resources so that they can find accommodation and support. There should not be a reason for them to live in squalor and such hardship in this day and age."