Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006

News Shorts & Other Busyness

Beggars In Desperate Need

Squall 8, Autumn 1994, pg. 10.

A recent report published by CRISIS has shown categorically that John Major’s attack on the “nuisance” of beggars on the streets, is further evidence of this government’s complete lack of compassion.

The report entitled 'We Are Human Too. A Study of People Who Beg' surveyed 145 beggars in central London and found that “the vast majority of beggars are leading a hand to mouth bleak existence”. Eighty per cent of those surveyed were homeless, one in three had a history of mental problems, of which 17% had spent some time in a psychiatric hospital. One third had a drink or drugs problem and three fifths had no educational qualifications. Eighty per cent had been in work at some time during their lives and 20% had formerly been in the armed forces.

The average income for a beggar according to the report, was between £10-£20, although one person in the sample of 145 earned £200 in a week. The tabloid newspapers dealt with the report in the way expected of them, with headlines such as “Outrage over the Beggars making £200 a week" in the Daily Mail 14/9/94. Shock horror - distortion and brownie points from a merciless government that described beggars as “eyesores”.