There have been a few pretty disappointing articles in the Oxford Mail the past week following senior City Councillors' comments on homelessness. Disturbingly, one councillor has claimed that homeless people have made Gloucester Green a "no-go area".
The area has been struggling since the opening of the Westgate, that much is very clear. Together with high business rates and a lack of public investment, this has led to a number of businesses closing.
To say that Gloucester Green is becoming a "no-go area" is one thing, but to say homeless people are to blame is just incredibly demeaning. We all know that the Westgate is a huge part of why shops in Oxford city centre are closing.
This sort of attitude is the sort we have come to expect from this City Council, targeting homeless people and threatening them with fines in order to push the crisis out of sight.
We need compassionate solutions to Oxford's homelessness crisis, with greater support for the brilliant work local charities and community groups are doing, as well as stable and secure accommodation. The last thing we need is for vulnerable people to be demonised or threatened with fines.
Please join the hundreds of people who have already signed this petition to end Oxford's homeless fines: oxonlibdems.uk/HomelessFines