Repealing and replacing the Vagrancy Act 1824

Westminster Hall debate - 13 April 2021

At 2.30pm on Tuesday 13 April, Nickie Aiken MP led a Westminster Hall debate on repealing and replacing the Vagrancy Act 1824.

Introducing the topic, she gave the following statement:

“No matter what one’s political affiliation, I believe we all share in the same goal of wanting to end rough sleeping for good. One of the blockers to achieving this ambition I believe is the Vagrancy Act which was passed in 1824 to deal with soldiers returning from the Napoleonic Wars.
“Rather than providing the help and support rough sleepers need to turn their lives around, the Vagrancy Act actually does the opposite and criminalises them. We need a fundamental change in attitude and practice towards those who find themselves on the streets. They are amongst the most vulnerable in our society and they need and deserve better. 
“I am delighted to have secured the Westminster Hall debate, Repealing and Replacing the Vagrancy Act 1824. I hope the debate will not only consider the repeal, calls for which have been widespread, but what should replace it, and how we tackle rough sleeping and the causes of rough sleeping.”
Nickie Aiken MP

Image of Nickie Aiken MP

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Urgent questions


  • Kelly Tolhurst MP (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government) Homelessness Reduction Act: Review (25 September 2020)
  • Robert Jenrick MP (The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government): Rough Sleeping (25 February 2021)

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Select committee inquiries

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has launched an inquiry: Impact of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) on homelessness and the private rented sector. It will consider both the immediate and long-term impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the homeless, rough sleepers and those in the private rented sector. (Opened 16 April 2020)

The Public Accounts Committee published a report in March for its inquiry: COVID-19: Housing rough sleepers. The Committee questioned senior officials at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, including the Rough Sleeping Taskforce, to examine the facts around the government’s rehousing of rough sleepers during the COVID-19 pandemic and government’s plans for solving rough sleeping in the longer term. 

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