A significant number of nationals from countries that recently
joined the European Union are sleeping rough in central London, it
was revealed last week.
Thames Reach Bondway, a charity that works with homeless people in
the capital, warned that the government’s progress on tackling
rough sleeping could be undermined by the problem.
A spokesperson said that a head count conducted by the charity in
June in Victoria found 21 recent accession country nationals
sleeping rough, just weeks after their countries joined the EU,
entitling them to work in the UK. The group are not eligible for
Westminster Council, which covers Victoria, said it was considering
several ways to tackle the problem including paying the coach fare
for people to return home if they wish.
The council and the charity both said they had heard evidence of
scams where people paid for a package giving them travel to the UK
and a job but that when they arrived no employment was
Most of those sleeping rough are from Poland. Both the council and
the charity want the British and Polish governments to get the
message to Polish people to make sure employment arrangements are
confirmed before coming to the UK.
“The government needs to liaise with the Polish government to
ensure people know the streets aren’t paved with gold,” said a
The authority is meeting the Home Office later this month to
discuss the issue.