Letter: Hooray for the honest beggar

Sir: I first visited Barcelona in 1981 and, on emerging from a Metro station, was alarmed to be confronted by a beggar. I smiled smugly to myself and thought, "Well, we don't have that sort of thing in Britain."

I last visited Barcelona about two years ago and I cannot recall seeing any beggars at all. But when one visits London, one cannot walk 50 yards without coming across either a beggar or someone sleeping rough in a doorway.

What I have zero tolerance for is the decline in the values of this country that has led to the view that begging is acceptable or necessary. The situation will improve only when government accepts that it has some responsibility for our citizens who find themselves living as vagrants and cannot, on their own, find a way out.


High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire