The Squatting Debate Continues - Make Your Views Known !!

Regular readers will be aware that the previous edition of the Bulletin led on the current debate on the criminalisation of squatting. The debate continues and Shergroup continues to take the lead in fighting the battle to prevent criminalisation of squatting - a short sighted remedy that will do nothing to address the real issues or to clamp down on the activities of hard-core squatters and activists, whilst at the same time producing a considerable strain on already stretched police resources - and to deal with the problem by way of speeding up existing civil court based remedies instead.

Claire Sandbrook, Shergroup CEO, has had letters on this issue published in a number of national and regional newspapers, as well as articles published on a number of blog pages, and has been pleased with the response she has had to those articles.

'The responses - which have come from a variety of sources, including politicians, retired judiciary and respected business professionals - have been overwhelmingly supportive of my position', she said.

However, there is concern that despite this support from the public, politicians are not picking up on the fact that there is an alternative to criminalisation and appear to want to push ahead with their proposals.

'I understand that those MPs who are most supportive of the proposal to criminalise squatting have been granted personal meetings with the relevant minister to put their case to him, and that the minister himself seems to still wish to take this proposal forward as his preferred policy on squatting. However, I believe that there will be a consultation exercise in the near future on this issue, and we need to make sure that we galvanise our supporters so that the alternative view can be put forward cogently and coherently', said Claire.

'It is always personally satisfying to get feedback from people saying that they have read what I have to say and agree with me - but that won't influence ministers or change policy. What is required is for people to lobby MPs, officials and ministers if the message is to get through', she added.

And so the message is - get writing !!

If anyone wishes to discuss how they may successfully engage with their local MP on this issue, please feel free to contact either Claire Sandbrook or Chris Bell at Shergroup.
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