I was shocked to read this report yesterday regarding the banning of charities in the London Borough of Westminster, running soup kitchens for the poor and homeless. The council also want to make it an offence to sleep rough and they are proposing to cut £5 million from the budget to fund hostels.
Westminster council, one of the richest in the land, wants to bring in a bylaw making it an offence to “give out food for free”, punishable by fines. The twisted move blows apart David Cameron’s Big Society boast that an army of volunteers will flock to help those worse off.
Reverend Alison Tomlin of the Methodist church in Westminster said: “The proposals are nothing short of disgusting. This bylaw punishes people solely for their misfortune and belongs in a Victorian statute book, not the 21st century.”
But Westminster’s Daniel Astaire risked provoking further fury by declaring free food “keeps people on the street longer”. He added: “Soup runs have no place in the 21st century. It is undignified that people are being fed on the streets. They actually encourage people to sleep rough with all the dangers that entails."
“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.