Deadline in fight against ban on 'soup runs' reached

By staff writers
2 Nov 2007

A deadline is reached today for churches and others who help London's homeless, to protest against a proposed ban on soup runs.

London Councils - most notably Tory run Westminster Council - have put forward a proposal to prevent or restrict the "distribution of free refreshments", aimed at ending soup runs.

This proposal is included with a number of less controversial measures in a Private Bill, the contents of which will be finalised at a meeting on the 13th November.

The consultation however ends today (Friday 2nd November).

Campaigners against the new proposals point out that there are not enough places for people to go for help that are open in the evenings, especially for people who don't have any money.

They say that those organising soup runs are well aware of the impact that their activities can have on residents and take every step to ensure that they leave the street tidy and also work hard to maintain an orderly and friendly service.

They also point to 'double standards' when compared with the mess caused by West End Pubs and Clubs and Fast Food outlets.

Those who use soup runs include the most entrenched street homeless who don't want to go into day centres or hostels and new EU nationals who are increasingly excluded from funded homelessness services.

Luke Evans, policy officer for Christian group Housing Justice, a network of organisations many of whom run soup runs, said: "We fear that if Westminster is successful in their bid to restrict soup runs some of the most vulnerable people in society will literally be left to starve."

He added the runs were concentrated around Westminster Cathedral, Victoria station, Lincoln's Inn, the Strand, Southampton Street and Temple in Westminster and Waterloo in Lambeth, "none of which are primarily residential".

Comments should be sent to Oliver Hatch, Parliamentary and Public Affairs Officer, London Councils, 59½ Southwark Street, London SE1 OAL or email: oliver.hatch@londoncouncils.gov.uk

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