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Majority of Stockholmers want to ban begging: survey

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Majority of Stockholmers want to ban begging: survey
A man begging in central Stockholm. Photo: Lars Pehrson/SvD/TT
07:45 CET+01:00
Support for banning begging in the Swedish capital has gone up by more than 20 percentage points in one year, according to a fresh survey.

Fifty-five percent of Stockholmers want to ban begging, according to the survey by Ipsos on behalf of the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper, released on Monday. A total of 33 percent of respondents said they thought begging should be allowed and 13 percent said they did not know.

It is a marked change since last year's Stockholm survey asking the same questions, when 32 percent said they supported a begging ban and 58 percent said they did not.

When asked whether or not they give money to beggars, 66 percent of respondents told Monday's survey they did not, compared to 54 percent a year ago.

Ipsos analyst David Ahlin said that one of the reasons for the apparent change in opinion could be that the survey was carried out online rather than through phone interviews.

“Begging is a question which many find unpleasant and sensitive to answer. There may be a tendency to avoid responding in a way that feels shameful when questioned by another person,” Ahlin told DN.

Another issue could be that more and more calls for a ban are heard at a top-tier political level, despite the ruling Social Democrat-Green government last year ruling out a general national ban.

“That may have affected public opinion,” said Ahlin.

Ipsos questioned a self-recruited panel of 768 respondents in Stockholm for the survey. Another poll carried out nationally by Sifo in May indicated that 50 percent of Swedes believe begging should be outlawed.

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.

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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