23 Feb 2022

CIH welcomes the scrapping of the Vagrancy Act

CIH are delighted that the Vagrancy Act will be repealed in the government’s new policing bill. The government accepted an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill on Monday 21 February which spells the end for the 200-year-old law that makes rough sleeping and begging a criminal offence in England and Wales.  This comes after a long-fought #ScrapTheAct campaign across the homelessness sector spearheaded by Crisis.

Matt Downie, Chief Executive of Crisis, said: “For almost two hundred years, the criminalisation of homelessness has shamed our society. But now, at long last, the Vagrancy Act’s days are numbered and not a moment too soon”.

Rough sleeping minister Eddie Hughes MP said: “The Vagrancy Act is outdated and needs replacing, and so I’m delighted to announce today the government will repeal it in full”

Rachael Williamson, head of policy and external affairs at CIH said: “No one should be criminalised for sleeping rough. CIH welcomes the news of the ending of this offensive law as an important moment of progress.”

The repeal will now be delayed for consultation and new legislation, which could take up to 18-24 months.