The government has announced it will repeal the Vagrancy Act 1824 which criminalizes rough sleeping and begging in England and Wales.
Campaigners, MPs and peers have long called for the ‘archaic’ legislation to be scrapped, warning it is ‘inhumane’ and unsuitable.
The government has now tabled an amendment to the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to repeal the law on Monday.
Matt Downie, chief executive of Crisis, said: ‘This offensive law does nothing to combat rough sleep, it only entrenches it further in our society by driving people away from support.’ We know there are better and more effective ways to help people overcome their homelessness.
“We thank the UK Government for using the Policing Bill to finally relegate this appalling act to history, where it belongs. We look forward to working with them to complete the job without delay and ensure an end to the criminalization of misery.
Robert Jenrick, the former housing minister, added: ‘The Vagrancy Act is archaic legislation which creates a totally unnecessary hurdle for homeless people to overcome in order to rebuild their lives. I welcome the steps that are being taken to put the repeal into law and urge the government to continue to work with charities, including Crisis, on the details of its implementation.