We know it is wrong, even undignified, that some people haveno option other than to depend on soup runs in order to survive. On that, therecan be little disagreement with Tory-run Westminster Council.
But its plan to ban a charity-run soup kitchen on councilland outside Westminster Cathedral (pictured) has more than a whiff of spite andnastiness.
Surprising is Thames Reach’s reaction, which last yearhighlighted the shocking desperation of the rough sleepers who resorted toeating rats. It says street handouts do little to help in the long-term.
Westminster maintains that the soup runs “attract” homelesspeople to the borough, as if they were economic migrants. What will Westminster claim next? That there is selfish and excessive demand for gluten-free minestrone?
The basic human rights laid down by Unesco are food,clothing and shelter; the Coombe Trust aims to help fulfil the first of those. IfWestminster, with the help of homelessness charities, fulfilled the third, thedemand for the soup runs would reduce naturally.
Currently, the Coombe Trust is performing a duty which, onemust assume, is very much in keeping with the ambitions of David Cameron’s BigSociety vision – a voluntary organisation doing the work that local authoritiescannot be bothered or cannot afford to do.
But Westminster, which is attempting to give the impressionof being cruel to be kind when it is just being cruel, is doing its best tokill the Big Society a mile from 10 Downing Street.
It’s being strangled at birth on your doorstep, Dave, and eventhe Daily Mail is appalled. It must be bad.
Picture: Glenn Copus/Evening Standard/Rex Features