Manchester City Council U-turn over £100 fines for street beggars

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Manchester beggarImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
"Aggressive" beggars could have been fined under the proposals

Manchester City Council has dropped plans to fine people £100 for "aggressive and intimidating" begging.

But councillors are still to consider plans for on-the-spot fines for urinating in public, dropping syringes or refusing to move from a doorway.

Earlier this year the council proposed a Public Space Protection Order in the city centre to combat anti-social behaviour, including begging.

Human rights group Liberty described the policy as "cruel and perverse'.

The council has consistently said the order was focused on anti-social behaviour and would not demonise rough sleepers, The Local Democracy Reporting Service wrote.

But, following a public consultation in which more than 3,000 people responded, it has decided to drop "aggressive and intimidating begging" from the list of behaviours included in the plans.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The council said it did not want to demonise rough sleepers

It said that while hundreds of people said this behaviour has a "detrimental impact on their quality of life," the majority of respondents said they would rather see more support for people begging rather than fines.

The council said that engagement work by the town hall, police, voluntary and community organisations is helping to reduce begging across the city centre.

The list of actions still included in the updated proposal - which will be discussed at a meeting next week - include drinking in public, discarding syringes or urinating or defecating in public.

Measures to tackles people found blocking building entrances and exits, footpaths and roads will also be considered.

Council deputy leader Nigel Murphy said: "We refuse to pretend, as some would have us do, that there are not issues which have a detrimental impact on people in the city centre which need to be positively addressed."

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