7 Feb 2012

Lords could save squatting!

The artist Antony Gormley put forward a passionate defence of squattingat the launch of an exhibition in aid of the homeless on Tuesday morning.
Gormley, famous for his humanoid sculptures, notably the Angel of the North in Gateshead, said: "I'm very against the criminalisation of squatting – I think it's absolutely criminal that many inner city properties are empty.
"Squatting is a very good way of preserving properties while at the same time putting them to good use. It's a no-brainer that properties that are awaiting renovation or don't have commercial tenants can be of use for creative things, and indeed to provide shelter for the homeless."


Keeping property empty means that people go homeless.

Squatting of residential homes where people live, is of course, already illegal.

The Condems have worked up hysteria with the result that people will go on the streets and protest occupations could be made illegal.

Do lobby the Lords who will debate this on thursday.

I think the graphic while US based puts the point well!

This is from their briefing http://www.squashcampaign.org/docs/LASPO_Lords_Brief-SQUASH.pdf

Squatters’ action for Secure Homes is concerned about the impact on homeless and vulnerable people of criminalising squatting in residential properties, as proposed by Clause 130 of the LASPO Bill. We are joined by other organisations in thinking that Clause 130 is unjust, unnecessary, and unaffordable, and call on the Lords to oppose its inclusion in the Bill. Following a Ministry of Justice consultation in which 96% of respondents opposed criminalisation, the clause was added to the LASPO bill at the third reading in the House of Commons. It has not received proper scrutiny. Homeless Charity Shelter said: “we urge the government not to rush through new criminal laws in a knee-jerk reaction to high profile media stories”. We oppose Clause 130 on the following grounds: 1. unneceSSary People displaced from their homes by squatters are already fully protected by the existing law on squatting. The 1977 Criminal Law Act protects displaced residential occupiers (DROs) and protected intending occupiers (PIOs). Numerous groups, including the Law Society, the Metropolitan Police, and the criminal bar association, have stressed that further criminalisation is unnecessary. “The current law is comprehensive and effective   … the proposals in this consultation are based on misunderstandings by the media of the scale of the problem and a misunderstanding of the current law” Law Society “Repeated inaccurate reporting of this issue has   created fear for homeowners, confusion for the police and ill-informed debate among both the public and politicians on reforming the law”letter to The Guardian from 160 legal experts and lawyers. The coalition government have committed to “preventing the proliferation of unnecessary criminal offences.” SQuaSH believe that the criminalisation of squatting, provoked by media scare stories, contradicts this commitment.

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