email from LCAP
All London Councils are proposing a new, tenth London Local Authorities Bill
which would make giving out free food, to the homeless and others, a criminal offence in London!
see text of proposal:
Distribution of free refreshments
Free refreshments and food are regularly distributed on public land, particularly by organisations wishing to assist the homeless. The unfettered distribution of free food and refreshments causes nuisance to occupiers of premises, often residential premises, in the vicinity of such land.
It is proposed to prohibit the distribution of free refreshments on land designated by a London borough council. It would also be an offence to cause another person to distribute such refreshments. To be designated, land would have to be in the open air, and open to public access.
Unlawful distribution of free food would be an offence, and would be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale.
Exemptions would be included, for example, the distribution of refreshments to people taking part in sporting events or giving out free samples outside retail premises.
Comments are welcome on the proposal to prohibit the distribution of free refreshments in designated areas. Consultees are particularly asked to comment on exemptions.
This is last minute, as it has only just come to our attention,but if anyone has time tomorrow please send a comment on the proposal for all London Councils to ban the distribution of free food. The deadline to comment on their proposal is tomorrow, the 2nd of November. The bill will be deposited on the 27th of November.
Comments should be sent to oliver.hatchATlondoncouncils.gov.uk
The full text of the proposed bill can be found at: http://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/upload/public/attachments/1250/071015%20As%20advertised%20(FINAL).pdf
Suggested comments could include:
"I live near a food distribution point and I don't have any problem with it, I fully support them to continue.." a list of soup runs is at http://www.thepavement.org.uk/services.htm
Comments from Soup runs in the Evening standard: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23418097-details/Councils+consider+ban+on+giving+food+to+homeless/article.do
Alison Gelder, chief executive of the Soup Run Forum, said: "The people who would be worst affected are those who have no recourse to public funds. They are some of the most unpopular groups in society, such as failed asylum seekers or migrant workers who can't get work.
"They are unpopular but that doesn't mean they should be starving."
She added: "Instead of giving money to beggars I usually buy them a sandwich or apple - in the future will I be breaking the law?"
A spokesman for The London Run which provides food for about 70 homeless people in Lincoln's Inn Fields every Tuesday, said: "The London Run has been providing aid to homeless people for over 20 years. We know that many people rely on us and other similar soup runs."