Letter: Six months in jail for begging fifty pence

Date published: 27 December 2017

Dear Editor, 

Rochdale Council has voted to go ahead with a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) that will give the power to fine people for begging in the town centre.

People with no money will be fined £100.

If they cannot pay they will be taken to court where they could receive a court fine of £1,000.

If they do not pay the court fine they could go to jail.

This happened recently to a woman in Wolverhampton where a similar scheme was introduced.

Someone gave her 50p. She got 6 months in jail.

At the hustings held at St Chad's Church before the general election in May all of the Rochdale candidates were asked if they would oppose this proposal.

Not one candidate spoke in favour.

Tony Lloyd said he had spent a great deal of time when he was Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester trying to prevent young people entering the criminal justice system for non-payment of small fines.

Jane Howard for the Conservatives said she was prepared to defy the party whip to vote against the PSPO.

Could any policy be further away from the sort of society based on the values of compassion, social justice and solidarity that Jeremy Corbyn is calling for?

Labour councillors should think again and reverse this terrible decision.


Sam O'Brien

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