The Government claims to have consulted widely before drafting its legislation against squatters. But who did they listen to?
Squall 6, Spring 1994, pg. 24.
“This law will scapegoat people who are basically homeless. This isn’t tackling law and order - this is another headline grabbing ploy.”
Carol Grant, Director of Communications, Shelter.
“(Michael Howard) is going against all the facts and all the advice of people who are actually dealing with the situation including the Law Commission. It's simply legislation that flies in the face of the bulk of the evidence.”
Sheila MacKechnie, Director of Shelter.
CHAR (Housing Campaign for Single People)
“Any extension of the Criminal Law is likely to result in a further rise in homelessness. Changes in the law are unnecessary because there are already strong civil remedies that can be taken against illegal occupation.”
Jon Fitzmaurice, Director of CHAR.
“The proposals will in effect ‘criminalise’ a group of homeless people who, for the most part, have done no more than exercise a ‘self-help’ (albeit temporary) solution to their housing problems, whilst at the same time providing no suggestion as to what would happen to the estimated 50,000 people concerned.”
Institute Of Housing
“The failure of the housing system to provide decent affordable housing to those in need has a significant link to the incidence of squatting. The institute believes that squatters are not, as stated in the consultation paper ‘generally there by choice, moved by no more than .’’
Institute of Housing statement
Association Of Metropolitan Authorities
“There should be no changes to the existing law (on squatting) except to remove the requirement that the owner of a property should have purchased it for money or monies worth in order to use the protected intending occupier rule.... The most effective and permanent solution to tackling squatting is to tackle its cause - the lack of affordable housing.”
AMA policy statement
Metropolitan Police Federation
“I can foresee police involved in the forcible eviction from premises and those premises remaining empty, boarded up and people saying: ‘was it necessary?’ I can see the problem of making criminals of people who are desperate to get their lives back in balance. Someone who has been made redundant, someone who squats in premises who pays for gas, electricity and water. Along comes a policeman and evicts them. That's not what l joined the police force for and I don't think a lot of people did.”
Sgt Mike Bennett Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation
“We can envisage all kinds of grave problems. The police do not wish to become the lead agency in de-squatting.”
Tony Judge. Spokesman for the Police Federation
“Remedies for disputes over the occupation of land should remain civil remedies: the under-resourcing of the civil courts is the real problem that needs to be addressed. Such disputes should not be handed over to the police to deal with: the actions of the police in such cases are unregulated by any need to justify themselves before the courts, and are uninformed by any understanding of the legal issues involved.”
The Law Society
'The Law Society strongly believes that the changes proposed to the existing law by clauses 56 to 57 (Criminal Justice Bill) are unjustified not only because it is unnecessary to amend the current law but because what is being put forward in its place is open to abuse. In urgent cases, a same day possession order against squatters can already be obtained."
Law Society statement
Responses Kept Secret - The Home Office refuse to let anyone see the responses to the consultation process on squatting legislation - Squall 5 - Oct/Nov 1993.