Britain’s Interior Minister, Suella Braverman, has announced her intention to propose new legislation aimed at curbing the use of tents by homeless individuals, asserting that for many, homelessness is seen as “a lifestyle choice.”
In a statement posted on X, Braverman, a potential future leader of the Conservative Party, emphasized that the government would continue to provide support to those genuinely in need of shelter.
Braverman voiced concerns about the proliferation of tent communities, especially among individuals from abroad, living on the streets as a lifestyle choice.
She argued that without government intervention, British cities could follow the path of places like San Francisco and Los Angeles in the United States, where lax policies have led to a surge in crime, drug abuse, and deteriorating living conditions.
The Interior Minister acknowledged that alternatives to sleeping rough were available and stressed that the government was collaborating with local authorities to enhance support systems.
Braverman’s primary objective is to address the behavior of those causing nuisance and distress to others by setting up tents in public spaces, engaging in aggressive begging, theft, drug use, littering, and negatively impacting local communities.
However, her stance drew criticism from Angela Rayner, the Deputy Leader of the opposition Labour Party, who vehemently rejected the notion that rough sleeping could be considered a “lifestyle choice.”
Rayner attributed the rise in homelessness to 13 years of Conservative government policies.
Homelessness charity Shelter also expressed disapproval of Braverman’s remarks, emphasizing that living on the streets was not a voluntary decision but rather a result of failed government policies.
The government’s upcoming legislative agenda will be unveiled in the King’s Speech scheduled for Tuesday.
Braverman’s recent pronouncements come on the heels of her previous call for a comprehensive global reform of immigration policies, which is expected to be a prominent issue in the forthcoming general election in Britain.
However, her stance on immigration has faced criticism from human rights advocates, opposition politicians, and even members of her own party.