I've just received a vital email (lucky this one got through) alerting me to this.
Scroll down past the items about litter, chewing gum and public toilets and go to page 14.
It is proposed to prohibit the distribution of free refreshments on land designated by a London borough council. It would also be an offence to cause another person to distribute such refreshments. To be designated, land would have to be in the open air, and open to public access. Unlawful distribution of free food would be an offence, and would be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale. Exemptions would be included, for example, the distribution of refreshments to people taking part in sporting events or giving out free samples outside retail premises. Comments are welcome on the proposal to prohibit the distribution of free refreshments in designated areas.
In case you're having any problems getting to grips with the meaning behind this bureaucratic blurb, they're talking about banning soup kitchens for homeless people!
The deadline for registering comments is TODAY!
Please, please, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can use this template below or create an email of your own.
I'm writing concerning the proposal to restrict the distribution of 'free refreshments' as contained in the "Proposals for a tenth (London Local Authorities) Bill" for Deposit in November 2007.
I am concerned by the lack of recognition of the important role that organisations wishing to assist the homeless have. In addition to the premises-based services on offer to homeless people, such 'refreshments' or 'soup-kitchens' provide an essential supplementary service to homeless and destitute individuals. Soup kitchens enable distribution of food without expensive overheads.
I would urge London Councils to completely drop this proposed legislation, or to substantially modify it to allow services to continue without causing undue disturbance to nearby premises.
[Suggest your own solution - e.g. a license.]
[Give your own story about how you may have helped homeless people, or about people you know who help]
I look forward to your response. I can be contacted on the details below.