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Homeless tents crackdown plan ditched along with Braverman

Downing Street confirmed that the former home secretary’s idea of a crackdown on charities giving tents to homeless people would not proceed.

David Hughes
Tuesday 14 November 2023 15:38 GMT
Suella Braverman doubled down on living in tent being 'lifestyle choice'

Suella Braverman’s plans for a crackdown on the use of tents by homeless people has been shelved.

Mrs Braverman was sacked as home secretary on Monday following a series of controversial comments, including describing homelessness as a “lifestyle choice”.

The plans will not be included in the new Criminal Justice Bill or other legislation, Downing Street said.

Mrs Braverman had pushed for legal changes to stop “those who cause nuisance and distress to other people by pitching tents in public spaces”, warning that “unless we step in now to stop this, British cities will go the way of places in the US like San Francisco and Los Angeles”.

She had reportedly been calling for a new civil offence to deter charities from giving tents to homeless people if their use could cause a nuisance.

But following her exit from government, Downing Street said there were no plans to implement the measures.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “It’s not going to be introduced in the Criminal Justice Bill. I’m not aware of any plans for its introduction elsewhere.”

Asked why Downing Street had repeatedly said Rishi Sunak had “full confidence” in Mrs Braverman, while he was already planning to sack her, the spokesman said: “The Prime Minister continued to work closely with the former home secretary, not least on the issue of small boats.

“Obviously he subsequently took a decision to change his team, that is his prerogative and I think he set out some of the rationale I think at the top of Cabinet.”

It was “not unusual for the Prime Minister to carry out reshuffles from time to time”.

Opening the first meeting of his new-look Cabinet on Tuesday, Mr Sunak said he now had a “strong and united team”.

A Home Office factsheet said the Criminal Justice Bill would include “a package of measures to improve lives and quality of life by tackling nuisance begging and rough sleeping where it causes damage, disruption, harassment or distress to the public, while avoiding criminalising the genuinely vulnerable”.

The legislation creates a new offence to tackle “organised begging” and creates new civil notices and orders to prevent nuisance begging and rough sleeping.

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