I have just read about an “aggressive beggar” who targetted shoppers in Newcastle being jailed..
Now I understand that being approached by beggars asking for money can be very intimidating for some people and I know this as this happens to me occasionally where I live.
I normally have little change myself which I need and I have to say no and a couple of times I have been verbally abused for this.
I know that some street beggars can get aggressive when they are rejected by the people they ask for cash and apparently some make verbal threats of violence.
But while I know this I am against locking beggars up as a solution to this problem. If we want to stop begging on our streets then we need to tackle the causes of begging.
Simply jailing people who beg on the streets just keeps them off the streets temporarily but when they get out of prison they are back on the streets doing it again.
Yes in some cases these beggars have drug addiction problems and they do get rehab treatment whilst in prison but there are even deeper issues for many beggars which causes them to do what they do.
That main issue is poverty which is caused by the growing social inequality in our society and is a consequence of the policies of this government in particular benefit sanctions which drive people into poverty and in some cases to beg for money on the streets.
We need to tackle these issues and problems if we want to end begging on our streets.
Begging is caused not by the supposed “fecklessness” of individuals but by social inequality, the ever increasing gap between rich and poor and benefit sanctions.
Only by having a fairer and more equal society can begging be ended.