“A Chugging Disgrace” Says Christian

Labour's candidate calls for powers to control Charity Muggers


Christian Klapp

Labour's candidate for Thamesfield Councillor

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Christian Klapp, Labour candidate in the Putney by-election on Thursday 30th June, has called for new powers to control “chuggers” – so-called Charity Muggers - in Putney High Street.

Most days of the week there are up to six chuggers in Putney High Street, harrassing High Street users and making an already inhospitable town centre more unpleasant.

Christian is calling for the loophole that requires fundraisers soliciting cash donations to be licensed but which doesn’t apply to those asking people to sign up to standing orders or direct debits to be closed. He also wants:

* Limits placed on the number of fundraisers allowed to be in an area at one time and the geographical spread of chuggers to be controlled

* A code of conduct for how these people behave with an easy way for members of the public who want to complain about a specific fundraiser to do so

* Chuggers paid an hourly wage rather than working on commission, because part of the reason chuggers are so aggressive is their need to harass enough people into signing up

In the Republic of Ireland, for example, all chuggers have to acquire a permit from the Police before they can fundraise. Christian wants it to be a council responsibility here so that the decisions can be made in public, accountably, residents and shoppers can have their say, and because councils already regulate other aspects of town centre activity like entertainment and alcohol licensing.

Christian said
“At the best of times Putney High Street is a grim place to be with illegal levels of pollution, congestion, grubby, uneven pavements, clutter, rubbish and not enough space for pedestrians.
Chuggers just make our gruelling daily encounter with Putney High Street that bit more stressful and unpleasant. At best they’re annoying – but at their worst they’re aggressive and prey on those who can’t afford to say yes but are just too nice to say no.

He continued:
“The problems with Putney’s town centre are many. But that does not mean we should
not even attempt to resolve them. Allowing Putney High Street visitors to conduct their
lawful business unhindered is a good place to start.”

June 11, 2011