The councils is holding a consultation which could result in the implementation of a PSPO that adversely affect the homeless (see previous report here), including prohibitions on begging and sleeping in tents. The consultation is open to accept public statements until 8 April 2019:
Recent proposals from Manchester City Council to bring in a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in the city centre have been met with anger and disbelief from many quarters of our city. Manchester Momentum stand in opposition to the proposals and urge Mancunians to voice their dissent to these draconian plans.
The PSPO is a cynical attempt to bundle a solution to a genuine problem – businesses leaving rubbish in alleyways – with what we believe is a cruel and unnecessary attempt to further demonise rough sleepers in our city centre.
We believe that if passed, the PSPO would hand to police sweeping powers to harass and move on rough sleepers in our city centre, adding further victimisation and pressure to a group of people who are already the most vulnerable in our city.
Britain has been hit hard by almost a decade of austerity, brought about by the Tory government and their Liberal Democrat allies. Homelessness, which has increased by 169% since 2010, is one of the most visible signs of the humanitarian crisis that this government has subjected our country to. At root, it is the product of a systemic failure. Its drivers lie in our broken housing system: an unregulated private rental sector and a chronic lack of council housing, and the problem has been compounded by the devastating failure of Universal Credit.
In the face of this onslaught from the government the role of Labour councils must be to mitigate the social crisis where best they can. Yet in Manchester there has been a worrying lack of empathy from our council leadership towards the homeless. From Richard Leese’s comments about “peak begging season” to the use of the council’s twitter feed before Christmas to attack street kitchens, too often our council’s approach has been characterised by a vindictive approach that ends up demonising those who are most in need. The recent proposals are a further step in this direction – and one we believe must be rejected.
Manchester Momentum stand in solidarity with those who are victims of an unjust housing system. We want our city to be a place where the vulnerable are protected and supported, not criminalised. We reject wholeheartedly attempts to grant the police additional powers to victimise homeless people, in an attempt to clean up the city centre and brush social problems aside. We condemn the current proposal for PSPOs and urge the majority who want a fair and just Manchester to make their voices heard in the consultation. This does not represent us, nor is it the city we want to live in. While we may have a callous government in Whitehall, in Manchester we must do things differently.
Manchester Momentum can be found on social media with – @McrMomentum
The City Centre Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) Consultation is open to accept public statements until 8 April 2019 – click here
Featured image: The Conversation
For more information on Public Space Protection Orders and the long history of criminalising the homeless – click here