While attention was drawn last week to the plight of hungry children across the country, the government has quietly smuggled out another plan that is supposed to punish the most vulnerable people in our society.
A new government plan to deport foreign narcotics sleepers using draconian immigration laws will lead to deaths on the streets, a Liverpool charity warned.
“It is a punitive and dehumanizing measure which, we have no doubt, will lead to more deaths on the streets,” warned a Liverpool charity.
It is estimated that more than a quarter of the rough sleepers in the UK are foreigners.
According to the immigration regulations to be submitted to parliament, which are to come into force after the brexite transition period on 1 January, intoxicated sleepers will become grounds for refusal or revocation of permission to stay in the UK.
Michelle Langan, founder of the Liverpool charity Paper Cup Project, expressed her concern about the scheme, which she believes will lead to more deaths on our streets.
In 2019, official figures showed that 22% were from the EU, while 4% were non-EU citizens.
Charities called the move a “major setback” that would discourage vulnerable people from asking for help.
She said: “This rule will diminish any confidence that the roughnecks have in visiting social workers and charities, as they will feel that they are at risk of deportation if they contact the services.
“It is a punitive and dehumanizing measure that will undoubtedly lead to more deaths on the streets.
“This is already the most vulnerable group of people that charities are dealing with, as very little help is available to them anyway.
“These rough sleepers, who are threatened by deportation, will fear for their safety and therefore go into hiding.
She added: “In 2020, it is a scandal that we let people sleep on our streets.
“Paper Cup Project has teamed up with organizations across the country to ask local authorities for details of their action plans for homeless non-UK citizens during the winter months and beyond.
The letter, sent by Paper Cup Project and a number of other charities and organizations across the country that work with rough sleepers, urged the councils to request the plans.
“If the government is really committed to ending homelessness, it should reconsider this measure and instead work with local authorities and organizations to find alternative solutions and support options.