I welcome the Minister, the noble Lord, Lord Greenhalgh, to his first debate; I am sure that we will have some superb answers from him. I also congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Bird, on securing this debate and for all the work he has done. I have been concerned about homelessness for a long time and I have two practical suggestions from Liberty about the regulations which, at the moment, penalise the homeless beyond all sense.
First, homelessness must be defined—and defined broadly. If you do not have a clear and encompassing definition, authorities will probably rely on an inconsistent or narrow interpretation of what homelessness is, which risks criminalising the homeless.
Secondly, homeless people must be excluded from the prohibition on gatherings. There is a possibility that homeless people will be moved along, fined or criminalised in circumstances where they cannot be expected to keep apart from groups.