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    HomeWorld News"UK's Proposed Homelessness Law Sparks Political Backlash and Debate"

    “UK’s Proposed Homelessness Law Sparks Political Backlash and Debate”

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    Rishi Sunak Faces Backlash Over Proposed Homelessness Law in the UK

    British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is encountering a potential revolt within his party’s ranks over new legislation that aims to criminalize homelessness and grant police powers to crack down on rough sleepers across England and Wales.

    Reported by ‘The Times’ on Monday, several Conservative Party Members of Parliament (MPs) have voiced their opposition to the measures outlined in the Criminal Justice Bill, currently undergoing scrutiny in the House of Commons and expected to be enacted before an upcoming general election later this year. The proposed legislation, introduced by former Indian-origin Home Secretary Suella Braverman, would empower authorities to impose fines of up to 2,500 Pounds or impose prison sentences on rough sleepers.

    Tory MP Bob Blackman, also serving as the joint secretary of the influential Conservative backbench 1922 Committee, expressed concerns, stating, “A lot of colleagues believe that the bill as it stands is completely unacceptable because it would have the effect of criminalizing people who have no choice but to sleep on the streets. We are urging ministers to think again.”

    Notable figures within the Conservative Party, including former leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith and former Deputy Prime Minister Damian Green, have signed amendments seeking to remove the proposed police powers from the bill. Green emphasized support for Blackman’s amendment, deeming it “a practical way forward to help people off the streets” rather than penalizing them.

    Critics argue that the proposed legislation is more punitive than historical laws like the Vagrancy Act, which originated after the Napoleonic wars and is slated to be replaced by the new measures.

    The Criminal Justice Bill is part of the Conservative Party’s strategy to portray itself as tough on crime ahead of the upcoming general election, which is anticipated to be challenging due to prevailing anti-incumbency sentiments.

    Apart from the contentious homelessness provisions, the bill encompasses broader law enforcement enhancements, including expanded police powers for drug testing suspects upon arrest and entering premises to search for stolen items like mobile phones. It also includes provisions for probation officers to conduct lie-detection tests on released sex offenders and terrorists, along with increased sentencing for certain offenses.

    While the government emphasizes its efforts to tackle homelessness through resource allocation and housing improvements, critics like Polly Neate, chief executive of the homelessness charity Shelter, argue that punitive measures are not the solution. Neate emphasized the need for suitable emergency accommodation and investment in affordable social housing to address homelessness effectively.

    Surces By Agencies

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