Letter: Street vendors are seeking trade not aid

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The Independent Online
I FOUND Andrew O'Hagan's article 'Beggar my neighbour' (Review, 5 December) informative about life among the beggars, but I also found him misinformed when it came to the Big Issue. Although Mr O'Hagan admits that vendors are licensed to sell the magazine, he still maintains that they are modern-day beggars. My dictionary defines 'beg' as to solicit for money or food, etc, while the definition of 'vend' is to sell.

I hope that with the money Mr O'Hagan obtained by deception, by pretending to be a beggar, he can buy a dictionary. By the way, obtaining money by deception is a criminal offence. If Henry VIII was still around he would have lost his ears.

I am a Big Issue vendor and have been for some time. By being so, I find I can support myself without looking to the Government or the local council to help me. I work six days a week, an average total of 56 hours. The Big Issue has helped me to further my education, find permanent accommodation and has given me a purpose in life. I am sure I speak for all vendors in saying thank you Big Issue, for giving us a chance to prove we are good salesmen and not beggars.

Allan Meakin

London SW18

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