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Half of Swedes support law banning begging

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Half of Swedes support law banning begging
A man begs for money on Hamngatan in central Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
10:05 CEST+02:00
Only one political party in Sweden wants a ban on begging, but half the population shares their view, a new survey shows.

Of the eight parties in parliament, only the nationalist Sweden Democrats support a begging ban. 

But a new survey from pollster Sifo indicates that 50 percent of Swedes agree that begging should be outlawed. 

Far fewer, 27 percent, explicitly oppose a ban, while the rest are undecided. 

“I think the figures reflect a frustration with the situation,” Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality Åsa Regnér told newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, which commissioned the poll. 

The survey also looked at party preferences among respondents and found that 90 percent of Sweden Democrat supporters backed a begging ban. Seventy percent of Moderate Party voters also favour the move.

This was in stark contrast to Left Party and Green Party voters, only 7-8 percent of whom want the practice made illegal. 

“It's rare to see such big discrepancies between the parties,” Sifo's survey manager Toivo Sjörén told SvD.

Sifo interviewed 1,360 people between April 14th and 16th.

Sweden has seen a surge in begging in recent years, with a study last year suggesting that around 4,000 vulnerable EU migrants are now living in the Nordic nation, with many of them asking for money on the streets.

But Sweden's government, a Social Democrats-Green Party coalition, last year ruled out a general ban on begging

Officials across Europe are grappling with how best to tackle begging. In one extreme case, a town in Italy has gone as far as to fine people who give money to beggars

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