• Refugees: what crisis?

    For the last two years, politicians and the media have been telling us that we are in the throes of a refugee crisis. Whenever those with power use language like this, it is worth scratching the surface in order to see the bigger picture.

    Image: refugees are human beings

  • Rough Sleeping Is Not A Crime

    Over the last few months, the police and Home Office have been systematically arresting, detaining and deporting European Economic Area (EEA) national rough sleepers. 

    In May last year, the Government adopted the legally dubious position that rough-sleeping is an “abuse” of EU Citizens’ right to freedom of movement”.  The “abuse of right” law is intended to allow the deportation of EU citizens convicted of crimes, but the Government is using it to crack down on migrant rough sleepers who’ve committed no crime.

    Cash-strapped local councils are being bribed to support these actions through access to a new pot of money - the Controlling Migration Fund - available to councils that identify rough sleepers to the Home Office or bully homeless migrants into returning home voluntarily. Over half of the rough-sleepers in London are migrants.  This is largely because of unfair laws that restrict migrants’ ability to claim benefits.  As such, people who have lived, worked and paid tax in the UK for years can find themselves homeless with no safety net.

    Even when councils have a legal duty to house migrants (such as when they have children), they do all they can to wriggle out of it - in one case claiming that a mother and her children had a “network” they could rely on because she was staying with a stranger she’d met at the bus stop. 

    They end up in a Catch-22 situation - unable to pay their rent, but being faced with arrest and deportation if sleeping rough.