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Anti-begging campaign is tough but fair

November 5, 2009 4:40 PM

Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesman for Newcastle East Greg Stone has supported a campaign by the city council and Northumbria Police to discourage giving money to people begging in the city centre. Posters encouraging people to give to homelessness charities rather than directly to beggars have recently been displayed in the city centre, noting that money given is generally spent on feeding alcohol or drug addiction.

Police have reported increases in begging in locations including Northumberland Street, Pink Lane and Neville Street, and the Quayside.

Greg Stone said "It is important to have compassion for vulnerable people who often have serious health and welfare problems. However, from first hand experience I am aware that giving to beggars does not solve the problem, it merely increases it. I work in Pink Lane and have noticed an increase in the number and aggressiveness of people asking for money, to the point where it is becoming increasingly hostile. I have also seen heroin dealing being carried out in the area."

I support this campaign's tough but fair message and would encourage people to back local organisations helping the homeless such as the Tyneside Cyrenians and the People's Kitchen, rather than encouraging the expansion of aggressive street begging and drug dealing by giving money directly"