Liberal Democrats are renewing calls for the Vagrancy Act to be scrapped following the publication of new ONS statistics revealing a rise in the deaths of homeless people in 2018.
The ONS data shows that there were an estimated 726 deaths in 2018, an increase of over 20% on the previous year. In the North West alone region 103 homeless people are estimated to have died.
Liberal Democrat Group Leader Councillor Tim Pickstone said:
“These figures are simply shocking. Clearly it takes more than a rough sleeping strategy document and the creation of a Minister for Homelessness to fix this epidemic. We should all be deeply ashamed that this is getting even worse.
“This out of sight, out of mind mentality needs to stop now. People are dying, and we need to take a more compassionate approach to ending this homelessness crisis. We must protect the most vulnerable people in our society, but instead the Conservatives are sitting on their hands.”
Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran led a Private Members Bill earlier this year to scrap the Vagrancy Act:
“We first need to scrap the cruel, Dickensian Vagrancy Act, which criminalises rough sleeping. The Conservatives are more than welcome to bring back my Bill that would repeal it in a heartbeat.
“The Liberal Democrats demand better. We would also build up to 100,000 social homes a year to provide the accommodation and support people need.”