Council leaders have decided to drop plans to ban charities handing out free food to London’s homeless population.
Under legislation proposed by Westminster Council to be included in the London Local Authorities Bill, councils would be given the power to fine anyone responsible for providing soup runs on public land. However, following a plea by Mayor Ken Livingstone at a meeting of umbrella organisation London Councils last week the proposal was scrapped.
London Councils said they would instead set up a cross-party working group to look at the most effective ways to get rough sleepers off the streets.
Campaign charity Housing Justice, which runs the Soup Run Forum, welcomed the announcement. Forum chair Alastair Murray said they would like to work with London Councils to see how soup runs could complement outreach work. He added: “Soup runs are often in touch with the most vulnerable people at the margins of society. They are part of the solution to homelessness not part of the problem.”
Consultation on London Local Authorities Bill