One in three homeless people who beg
spend most of their money on drugs, according to research carried out by the
government Rough Sleepers Unit (RSU).
The figures will lend
weight to the government’s controversial ‘Change a Life’ advertising campaign,
which urges the public to donate money to homeless agencies rather than give to
people on the street.
The research revealed
that 45 per cent of people begging said most of their money was spent on food,
but one third said most of their proceeds went on drugs. Nearly half said they
spent some of their money on alcohol or cigarettes.
“It is clear that a
multi-agency approach to tackling the problem is required,” said the report
‘Looking for Change’. “No one agency or single initiative can have much of an
impact on this complex area. Moving away from begging requires a significant
change of lifestyle and there needs to be creative solutions."
One in four of the 260
people interviewed by Luton University on behalf of the RSU said begging was
their only source of income. Over half said they made more than £20 a day, and
one in ten said they made over £50 a day.