Westminster council wants 'nuisance' soup runs banned

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Indy Politics

Free soup distribution for the homeless by volunteers could be stopped because councils believe it poses a threat to public order.

Westminster council in London wants an amendment to a local authority Bill banning food distribution on public land because it "causes nuisance". If the Bill is amended, anyone trying to give free food to the vulnerable would be breaking the law, and subject to a fine. Yet those who distribute free refreshments as a means of corporate promotion would not be liable to such a fine.

The Soup Run Forum, a group set up by the charity Housing Justice to oversee London's soup runs, say that without these services London's homeless "could be left to starve". They say Westminster council's proposed ban would leave many with nowhere to go and nothing to eat. Westminster says soup runs keep the homeless in a spiral of dependency, cause disruption and attract violence.