One of the arguments that keeps being brought up against the soup runs closing is that it will lead to the homeless having to steal food and this will have a big impact on the businesses that operate in Westminster. They’re basically trying to sell the argument that Westminster should let people sleep rough and eat free food on the streets in large crowds because if they aren’t allowed to do it they’ll rob you. That’s meant to convince the residents of Victoria to support them!!!! There are a number of problems with this argument. Firstly, most homeless are not criminals and if they genuinely had no money or access to food they would prefer to go hungry. Secondly, most homeless have access to benefits. Thirdly, the daycentres and daytime soup kitchens provide plenty of free or cheap food so that it is possible for every rough sleeper, if so minded, to get a couple of meals and plenty of hot drinks during the day from various venues in inner London so at the very least you won’t starve. Most importantly the argument falls down on its main point because, by removing the soup runs, shoplifting will actually FALL. I can tell you for a fact that a significant number of people who come to the soup runs collect some food and then go and rob some alcohol from the off-licence or supermarket or they get tired waiting for the food to show up on a cold night and then just go and rob a sandwich instead. I’m not making this up! Remove the crowds and shoplifting will fall. Don’t believe me? Ask around. Ask the supermarkets whether they would prefer the occasional loss of a sandwich over a couple of crates of beer? Ask them what they are currently losing on a daily basis.
There is plenty of other food available during the daytime (the potential problems lie in evening and morning provision). “No-one goes hungry in London.” That’s our saying on the streets and why people come to Westminster from elsewhere.