Homeless attack 'sickening'

SIR - I was saddened to hear of the sickening attack on The Big Issue vendor, Anthony Shannon, last week.

I worked for a couple of years at The Big Issue office in Exeter and I know, too well, that this is not an isolated incident.

Even more damaging, I believe, is the prejudice that vendors have to put up with from certain members of the public.

Vendors are very often told to “get a proper job”, demonstrating that many are not aware that they actually have to first buy the magazines that they sell.

It is not a handout or a soft option. The magazine retails at �1.70, out of which the vendor pays 85 pence thus making a profit of 85 pence for each magazine he sells. This most certainly is not begging! It is very hard work indeed, as anyone who has ever had to sell anything to members of the public would know!

These are extremely tough economic times and yet I would urge kind Sidmothians to show support for the homeless, if they can afford to, by buying a copy of The Big Issue.

And, please, if you buy a copy, make sure you take a copy!

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For, as it says on the cover of each copy, this is “A hand up not a hand out.”

Valerie Bettag

Flat 1 St Helens, Cotmaton Road, Sidmouth