London Borough Starts Fining Homeless £1000, Ellie Goulding Slams City Council In Response

Jun 05, 2015 04:31 AM EDT | By Juliano Dario

The east London Borough of Hackney has been slammed for a new protection order it filed recently. The new bill allows police and city council officers to fine homeless people up to £1000 for a range of offenses deemed to be anti-social. These activities include, but are not limited to, begging, loitering, and rough sleeping.

The City Council says the move was made to protect the district's tourist spots and other key areas, which may be obstructed by homeless people sleeping around doorways, stairwells, and other passageways.      

Hackney Downs, London Fields, Broadway Market, Mare Street and Regents Canal are the areas covered by this new Public Space Protection Order.

Many London citizens are appalled by the new law, labelling it 'the criminalization of the poor', and have filed a petition to have the new law scrapped. Thousands have already signed the petition against the Hackney City Council, labelling their decision 'absurd.'

In a message on the petition's Change.Org webpage Zahira Patel, one of the leaders of the anti PSPO movement had this to say,"It is absurd to impose a fine of £1,000 on somebody who is already homeless and struggling. People should not be punished for the 'crime' of not having a roof over their head - there is nothing inherently 'anti-social' or criminal about rough sleeping.

"We should not allow measures which will make the lives of those with nowhere else to go even harder than they already are."

Some British celebrities have also voiced their outrage at the City Council's treatment of the homeless. In a series of tweets made yesterday, singer Ellie Goulding voiced her 'disgust at the council saying: "I'm looking at you Hackney Council. How could you do this to vulnerable people who need you the most? I can't deal with your ignorance."

In another tweet the singer had this to say about the plight of those affected: "Homelessness isn't a lifestyle choice. It is a last resort and has risen 79% in London since 2010. Because people aren't caring enough."

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