Traveller site provision hit by lack of assessment
The scrapping of regional assessments of housing need has worsened conditions for Travellers, an academic has claimed.
Dr Teresa Staniewicz, of the University of Warwick, said: ‘With the exception of a few local authority areas, little progress has been made in identifying land and developing systems for site delivery.
‘What is clear, is that many Roma and Irish Traveller communities live in sub-standard housing, they are exposed to a lack of security of tenure, they face potential forced evictions, and engage in short-term letting contracts.’
The coalition government scrapped regional housing need assessments after coming to power in May 2010, saying it is up to local authorities to determine what is needed in their area.
Research by the University of Warwick published last July found that poverty and poor housing has left Travellers in the United Kingdom and Ireland with a population profile similar to communities in the developing world.
Dr Staniewicz said: ‘Roma and Irish Travellers have a distinctive population profile similar to developing countries in terms of a population pyramid, wide at the base indicative of a high birth rate, and a steep narrowing toward the top indicating a young population with high mortality rates.
‘Poor health in the Irish Traveller community is common and attributed to the undermining of traditional Traveller cultures and identities, and centralised in the abolition of stopping places, widespread poverty and sub-standard accommodation.’