National union slams Homeless Tax as 'something from the Victorian era'

Tenants Union UK has slammed Manchester Council's Homeless Tax plans as "utterly cruel" and "something from the Victorian era".

This news is the latest hit to the proposals which went out to public consultation on Tuesday but have been at the centre of a fierce political row.

The new ‘Public Space Protection Order’ will fine people sleeping in tents, doorways or stairwells up to £1,000 prompting accusations of social cleansing.

In a devastating statement, Tenants Union UK said:

"Manchester City Council is trying to implement a Public Space Protection Order, covering the city centre, which would criminalise many of the city's homeless people. These proposals risk punishing any homeless person seeking shelter from the elements or simply taking up space on the pavement.

"If this goes ahead then it will become illegal to beg anywhere within the city centre. If a person were to breach the order, they would be liable for a fine of up to £100. What homeless person can afford that?

"Fining and prosecuting Manchester’s most vulnerable people is like something from the Victorian era of the workhouse. It is only going to make the problem worse, not make things better.

"The orders that the council are trying to introduce directly put homeless people at risk from prosecution, simply for seeking shelter from the elements.

"Together we have a chance to stop this injustice in its' tracks. Across the country, several local authorities have tried to introduce similar policies and each time a petition and public pressure has stopped this from happening.

"With your 
support, we can stop Manchester City Council from criminalising people in poverty and find solutions to help people rather than vilifying and burdening them further.

"Together we can stop this injustice."

The union urged their members to voice their opposition to Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council.

Manchester Lib Dem Leader John Leech welcomed the statement:

"I'm really pleased to see the public and national unions agreeing with us so early on in this consultation, and I'm grateful to Tenants Union for coming out against the policy so quickly and decisively.

"If we are to win this battle, we must keep the pressure up, so I am urging other unions to follow in Tenants Union's footsteps.

Earlier this morning John Leech also wrote to Richard Leese setting out why his party will oppose the proposals.

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