The UK’s Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, intends to launch a crackdown on homeless people, referring to them as a “lifestyle choice” in particular for foreigners. Her words sparked an argument.
The Indian-origin British minister took to the social media platform X to post her view on the matter. In her comment, she described British residents as compassionate and said the government wants to help people who are genuinely homeless.
However, a particular comment after she described the situation is what initiated a controversial conversation around her. The statement goes, “But we cannot allow our streets to be taken over by rows of tents occupied by people, many of them from abroad, living on the streets as a lifestyle choice.”.
Braverman, who is also in charge of the interior ministry, has presented a plan for a crackdown on rough sleepers who illegally occupy the streets with tents. She has stressed the matter by saying that the UK government cannot allow their cities to become another hotspot for crime, as is the case for San Francisco and Los Angeles in the US.
According to her, the UK will not produce the same fate that America has seen over the growth of homeless people in the state of California (LA’s estimated homeless population is 65,111) and acquire high crime rates and substance abuse.
She adds on the matter by saying that unless the government stops this now, British cities will go the way of places in the US like San Francisco and Los Angeles, where weak policies led the US states to crime, drug abuse, and filth.
As a result, Suella Braverman’s comments generated conversation and drew criticism from the Opposition. Members of her party were also observed pulling back from making comments on the issue. Except for the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, who refused to repeat his cabinet colleagues’ remarks when asked if he agreed with them as being offensive.
“I don’t want anyone to sleep rough on our streets… That’s why the government is investing £2bn over the next few years to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping,” The Guardian quoted the PM as saying.
The Home Minister’s comment escalated via multiple tweets, claiming that the UK government has already started working on ways to help the homeless people living on the street deal with alcohol and narcotic addiction.
According to her, there should not be any homeless people living on the streets, as there are options open for those who don’t want to live rough. The government is said to have started working with the local authorities to strengthen wraparound support that includes treatment for individuals struggling with addiction.
“What I want to stop… is those who cause nuisance and distress to other people by pitching tents in public spaces, aggressively begging, stealing, taking drugs, littering, and blighting our communities,”, the cabinet minister added.
Nonetheless, this is not the first time that Braverman has been accused of making sensitive comments.
The following are three major controversies around Suella Braverman from the past.
UK Home Secretary’s Top 3 Controversial Statements
- ‘The largest group of people who overstay are Indian migrants’:
Braverman’s comment on “reservations” about Britain’s trade deal with India and criticising her predecessor Priti Patel for not properly dealing with the Indian government regarding the cases of overstayed Indian migrants in the UK
- ‘I would love… a plane taking off to Rwanda, that’s my dream’:
She has made headlines for her remarks in her Conservative Party speech, where she expressed her views about deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda.
- Cannabis is a ‘gateway’ drug for more deadly substances:
A report by The Sunday Times captured Braverman commenting on comparing cannabis to cocaine, saying both are of the same status, to which Downing Street commented that there were ‘no plans’ to change the drug from class B.