'With the number of rough sleepers in the UK skyrocketing, how will the government solve the homelessness crisis? The answer is simple: host a royal wedding and fine them all. Oh wait, that only works in Windsor.
According to charity Homeless Link, the number of rough sleepers in the UK has increased 169 percent since 2010, prompting other constituencies to write to the Tories in power to beg for further assistance. And while regions like Oxford call on the government for help, Windsor and Maidenhead Council are getting the royal treatment.
The council is currently at the center of a row over a controversial public space protection order (PSPO) in the lead-up to the royal wedding. The plan is to jack up fines for anti-social behavior to £100 (US$140) and bring in a ban preventing people from leaving bedding and belongings "unattended" on its streets. Luckily for the homeless, that can be slashed to a mere £50 for early payment. Offenders who can’t pay could face be slapped with a summary conviction and a £1,000 fine.
The tough new rules will also ban begging – or as Windsor and Maidenhead Council puts it, banning people from making "any verbal, non-verbal or written requests for money, including the placing of hats and containers."
The new rules will be enforced by community wardens, adorned with body cameras and stab-proof vests.
The council’s new strategy will also require itinerants to sign up to a 56-day plan, in which they are offered housing, medical, and addiction services. If they don’t comply, they may be prosecuted.
Windsor Council hopes the "robust strategy" will reduce rough sleepers by 50 percent by the end of March. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will wed on May 19.
Murphy James, from the Windsor Homeless Project, queried how "fining somebody who quite evidently, has no money" would bring about a solution.'
Read more: The Tory guide to solving the homelessness crisis: host a royal wedding, then fine everyone
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