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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 February 2006, 14:06 GMT
Collection boxes plan for beggars
Beggar (generic)
Begging is seen as a major problem on Aberdeen's streets
People in Aberdeen have been urged to use collection boxes rather than giving money directly to street beggars.

The city council has been trying to rid the streets of aggressive beggars but the Scottish Executive would not back a proposed byelaw.

Councillors want the public to use money boxes and the proceeds would then be given to charities aiding the homeless.

However, charity Shelter Scotland has criticised the proposal.

Aberdeen city centre has an estimated average level of about 25 beggars and the council has plans for about 20 boxes to be placed around the city.

We do believe that if you cut off the source of the income, people will stop begging
Alan Pilkington
Aberdeen City Council

Alan Pilkington, Aberdeen City Council's head of neighbourhood services, said: "We do believe that if you cut off the source of the income, people will stop begging.

"You have to question whether the money is used for food and housing and our belief is in the majority of cases it is not.

"Encouraging people to donate in the boxes and ensuring the money goes through charities is a much better use of money from Aberdeen citizens than if it was going, for example, towards drugs."

Petty crime

Council officials have been in discussions with city traders over the location of the boxes, which the authority said would be secure enough to leave unattended on the streets.

They have also been in talks with charities to decide the best ways to distribute the money collected.

An Aberdeen City Council spokesperson told BBC Scotland on Wednesday that the boxes would appear "sooner rather than later" - and all the money would go to charity rather than being swallowed up by administration costs.

However, James Jopling, of Shelter Scotland, said many people still have no choice but to take to the streets to beg.

"We don't agree with dictating to people what they should do with their money," Mr Jopling said.

"Often people beg because they feel they have no choice - some might turn to petty crime if they aren't helped."


SEE ALSO:
Abusive city beggar is given Asbo
23 Dec 05 |  Scotland
City could ban aggressive begging
06 Sep 04 |  Scotland


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