Watching 'The One Show' on BBC tonight it was interesting to see the article about beggars and the evidence that they do not earn a good living from begging on the streets of our towns and cities.
One of the myths put around in the late 80s and early 90s by the tabloids was that beggars earn £200-£300 a day, but that clearly is not the case. However, the programme did make me think about my own attitude to beggars, particularly in the light of the advice from homeless charities on the show who all advised people never to give money to beggars, instead telling people to but them food or as a better option, give the money to homeless charity like shelter.
My own personal attitude to beggars has been to give money to Big Issue sellers (and I don't take the magazine) because I see them as trying to make the situation better by hard work. Aside from that, I think I try to use certain things to justify my own unwillingness to give money to beggars.
In particular, I find the whole issue of beggars with dogs a complete contradiction. If you don't have enough money to feed yourself, why have a dog. If you have enough money to feed a dog, you don't need to beg. Yes, I know it offers companionship, but if you don't have the money to fed yourself, why inflict this starving and suffering on an animal ?
So what am I trying to say ? I guess I'm like most people. I don't give money to beggars and I try to justify it in my mind using my moral compass. What would I do if I were in a desperate situation ? I'd like to think I'd try my hardest through hard work to sort myself out. That said, I am lucky enough to have a family that love and care for me. Without my great upbringing, what would I have been like. I guess it's a case of "there but for the grace of God go I".
Anyone who wants to offer their views would be welcome.