Updated: Monday, 14th October 2019 @ 2:46pm

'Dehumanising': Manchester Green Party call on Selfridges to ditch anti-homeless spikes

'Dehumanising': Manchester Green Party call on Selfridges to ditch anti-homeless spikes

| By Kim Reader

Manchester Green Party have branded ‘anti-homeless’ spikes ‘dehumanising’ and called on Selfridges to abolish the ‘heartless’ tactic.

Selfridges have claimed the spikes outside their Corporation Street shop are to deter staff and members of the public from smoking outside the building, but not everyone is convinced.

Green Party candidate for Manchester Central, Kieran Turner-Dave believes the spikes ‘are intended to prevent homeless people from being able to find shelter’.

He said: “The poor are being hit the hardest by council and government cuts. 1.8million people are on the waiting list for social housing in this country and can’t get a home.

“At the same time, benefit sanctions and the bedroom tax are forcing the least fortunate in Manchester onto the streets.

“Selfridges’ approach to the poorest in our society is heartless and dehumanising!

“The solution to homelessness isn’t spikes on the ground. We need investment in good quality social housing, and a fair and effective welfare system.”

Mr Turner-Dave is not the only one who thinks the use of ‘anti-homless’ spikes by city centre stores is, in part, the fault of an uncaring government.

Manchester Metropolitan University professor Cathy Urquhart, who launched the original petition against the spikes – which has gained nearly 3,000 signatures in just two days – says they represent society’s ‘demonisation’ of the homeless and those on benefits.

She told MM: “I don’t think this government is particularly interested in the poor and disadvantaged and I see the spikes as a symbol of the demonisation of people on benefits and who are homeless.

“It’s almost this old fashioned Victorian idea that somehow people are to blame for their own situations and should be punished in some way and that’s not the mark of a caring society.”

Wigan’s Labour councillor Damian Edwardson was also one of many Manchester residents to air their outrage at Selfridge’s on Twitter.

The Green Party want to build half a million homes by 2020, and fill the 700,000 empty homes in the UK.

They also want to fight poverty by raising the minimum wage to a Living Wage, and introducing a Guaranteed Basic Income to fight poverty.

To sign the petition demanding Manchester Selfridges to remove the spikes, click here.

Main image courtesy of Ros Ballinger, with thanks.