Community newspaper exposes London BID campaign against homeless and Roma

A community newspaper has run a report which exposes a campaign directed against street homeless and Roma in central London. Fitzrovia News reports: “A business group in Fitzrovia has told its members that there is enough accommodation on offer for homeless people and that the vast majority of rough sleepers choose to stay on the streets”.

London has high levels of rough sleepers — and a large increase on the previous year.

The statements were made in a series of reports in February and March this year by The Fitzrovia Partnership Business Improvement District (BID) which works in a public-private partnership with Camden Council. The report to the board of directors reveals that at meetings with its members employers were told to tell their staff: “There is enough accommodation in Camden for homeless people to be placed if they wish to engage”.

The report in its executive summary says: “It is clear that the vast majority of street people could have accommodation should they engage with the Council. It has been noted that many see the begging opportunities in Fitzrovia and London as being profitable so they would rather be here than in their hometowns where accommodation is readily available.”

The report also reveals that the business group told its members “Roma gypsies from Marble Arch are also trying to operate in the area”. Staff from Camden Council were at the meeting and no-one appears to have challenged the crime report which singled-out the Roma as a problem. The crime reports were given by Dave Fereday, a business improvement district consultant currently working for The Fitzrovia Partnership.

Fitzrovia News has made the report public and it gives an account of meetings and details of finance. The BID report reveals that the architecture group Arup has a seat on the board of directors. Arup has a reputation for being a progressive-minded employer. But Fitzrovia News says that property developer Derwent London and a BID consultant are the driving force behind the Fitzrovia BID.


Report referred to in article:


About no2bids

A critical look at Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in Canada, United States, United Kingdom, and worldwide. Public and private space.
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