UK's Interior Minister Suella Braverman has announced her intention to propose new laws aimed at regulating the use of tents by homeless individuals.
Braverman emphasized the government's commitment to supporting genuinely homeless individuals while addressing what she views as a growing issue.
She expressed concerns about the perception that some homeless people view living in tents as a "lifestyle choice."
The minister argued that allowing streets to be filled with rows of tents, many of which are occupied by people from abroad, could have negative consequences. Braverman pointed to examples in the United States, such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, where lenient policies are believed to have led to increased crime, drug use, and squalor.
Braverman acknowledged that there are alternatives available for people who wish to avoid sleeping on the streets and stated that the government is collaborating with local authorities to enhance support services.
She stressed on addressing individuals who engage in behaviors that disrupt public spaces, including aggressive begging, theft, drug use, littering, and negatively impacting communities.
Rough sleeping is not 'a lifestyle choice'
Angela Rayner, the Deputy Leader of the opposition Labour Party, criticized Braverman's comments, asserting that "rough sleeping is not 'a lifestyle choice'." Rayner attributed the rise in homelessness to the policies of the Conservative government, which has been in power for 13 years.
Homelessness charity Shelter also expressed criticism, emphasizing that living on the streets is not a choice but a reflection of failed government policies.
The government's new legislative agenda is expected to be unveiled in the King's Speech on Tuesday.
Braverman has previously called for a global reconsideration of immigration policies, a topic likely to be a significant issue in the upcoming general election in the UK.
In her previous speech on immigration faced criticism from human rights advocates, opposition politicians, and some members of her own party.