“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.”
Information, resources and Parliamentary activity
What is a Westminster Hall debate?
Westminster Hall debates give MPs an opportunity to raise local or national issues and receive a response from a government minister.
How Parliament works: Westminster Hall debates.
The debates would normally take place in the Grand Committee Room – just off Parliament’s historic Westminster Hall - but have been temporarily relocated due to Coronavirus restrictions. They now take place in the more modern Boothroyd Room in Portcullis House.
The temporary move will allow up to 20 MPs to participate in any one debate physically and virtually combined. See our news story for further information: Westminster Hall debates: MPs to participate virtually and in person.
House of Commons Library research briefings:
- Rough Sleepers: Enforcement Powers (England) (9 April, 2021)
- Homelessness (28 January 2020)
- Support for homelessness during the winter months (15 December 2020)
- Local housing allowance rates for homeless young people (28 January 2020)
- Rough sleeping (England) (21 March 2021)
- Statutory Homelessness in England (26 November 2020)
- Opposition Day debate: Homelessness (29 January 2020)
- Westminster Hall debate: Winter Homelessness Support (16 December 2020)
- Westminster Hall debate: Local Housing Allowance: Homeless Young People (4 February 2020)
- Thangam Debbonaire: Covid-19 Lockdown: Homelessness and Rough Sleepers ( 11 November 2020)
- 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)
Search hansard.parliament.uk for debates, oral statements urgent questions and more.
- Paul Maynard MP: Vagrancy Act 1824 (1 March 2021)
- Tracey Crouch MP: Vagrancy Act 1824: Kent Police (9 March 2020)
- Imran Ahmad Khan MP: Coronavirus: Homelessness (16 March 2021)
- Layla Moran MP: Vagrancy Act 1824: Arrests (4 March 2021)
- Neil Coyle MP: Coronavirus: Vaccination (16 March 2021)
Search questions-statements.parliament.uk for written questions, answers and statements.
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.
Search committees.parliament.uk for committees, inquiries and publications.
Other debates, online tours, education resources and more
You can see upcoming debates and other parliamentary business on Parliament's What's on page.
You can watch all debates on parliamentlive.tv.
Contact your MP
When you or people living in your area are affected by decisions made by the UK Parliament or by the Government, you can contact your MP. MPs represent all the people in their local area, whether they vote for them or not.
Your UK Parliament newsletter
Sign up for a regular newsletter packed with the latest info on free activities online and around the UK to help you get involved and make a difference.
Parliament is currently closed to visitors due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but you can still attend a free tour or a talk virtually – visit our online talks and events page for more information.
Visit our learning pages for award-winning free education services for schools, colleges, communities and home educators.