MAX CLIFFORD, PR consultant: I'll give to someone who looks like a genuine case. It's silly really, because how can you decide at a glance? But you think 'There but for the grace of God . . .' - do you know what I mean? There's a lovely little old boy who lives in a cardboard box at Raynes Park station. We often chat, I give him something every day, or I buy him his dinner.

PHIL CROMPTON, communications consultant: Only if there's an interesting sales pitch. I always give something to the guy who does Ravel's Bolero on the clarinet at Green Park station, and the one who does 'Careless Whisper' on the sax at Leicester Square.

JULIE BURCHILL, journalist and novelist: My dad was a Communist who told me never to give money to beggars as it was putting an Elastoplast over the wounds of the system, but I'm sentimental. I don't give to young men who demand money aggressively, but I do give to women with children and old people. I once gave a pounds 50 note to a tramp in Soho - I'm the softest touch in the world, I wasn't even drunk.

COLIN WADE, computer programmer: I don't give money, but I buy the Big Issue. I don't read it because it's so boring, but I carry it prominently around so the sellers can see I've got it.

MELANIE KOTZ, radiographer, on holiday from New York: I don't give because I just don't see them any more, I tune them out. I guess that's pretty disgusting, but the shameful thing is that they are there at all, not the fact that people don't give them enough.

PHIL, ticket inspector, London Underground: No I don't, they're a bloody nuisance. They make the station look a mess, they pee anywhere, they intimidate people. I feel sorry for the poor sods, but there are places they can go, hostels and that.

RACHEL NEWSON, market researcher: I'll always give a couple of quid to a kid or a girl my own age who's out begging. I just think if anyone who looks normal is desperate enough to ask me for cash, then I can spare it. Now that it's freezing, I'm horrified to think of people out with nowhere to go. I wouldn't leave my cat out in winter, let alone another human being.