Friday, 18 April 2014

Report slams treatment of Gypsies in Scotland

Travellers and Gypsies often live in unsafe locations, are victims of prejudice and find it difficult to access health services, a committee of members of Scottish Parliament have found.

The equal opportunities committee at Holyrood yesterday published a report looking at the provision of services for Gypsies and Travellers.

The report found that over half of Gypsies and Travellers have spent time without running water, while land provided by councils for Gypsies and Travellers is ‘unpopular brownfield sites unsuitable for conventional residential or commercial use’.

The report said: ‘Most council sites for Gypsies or Travellers in Scotland are built in undesirable and unsafe locations, such as beside landfill sites and rubbish dumps, canals, or railway lines and under electricity pylons.’

Unlike in England, there is no legal duty on councils to provide sites. Nine in 10 Travellers and Gypsies said they had experienced bullying or prejudice.

The committee also found that in some cases GP surgeries had refused to register Gypsies and Travellers, on the grounds they have no fixed address or because the surgery had previous difficulties with Gypsy and Traveller families missing appointments.

The report said: ‘That any individual could be turned away from what should be a free, universal healthcare system was one of the most alarming pieces of evidence we heard.

‘We urge the minister to report to us, clarifying what obstacles exist, on what steps can be taken to stop the practice of refusing GP treatment and/or registration to Gypsies and Travellers – and, indeed, to anybody who requires it, irrespective of background or housing arrangements.’

The committee called on the Scottish Government to make ‘real significant changes to the lives of Gypsies and Travellers’.

 

Newsletter Sign-up

More Newsletters

Related

Articles

  • Politicians slam strict housing bill measures

    22/11/2013

    Measures to tackle rogue landlords may have to be watered down to allow the housing bill to pass through the Welsh Assembly, the housing minister has admitted.

  • Gaining ground

    17/05/2013

    The UK Independence Party is known for its views on Europe, but does it have any policies on housing? Kate Youde finds out

  • The woman from Brazil

    20/09/2013

    UN special rapporteur Raquel Rolnik ruffled plenty of feathers last week after rubbishing UK housing policy. But how did she form her opinions and can the government afford to dismiss them so lightly? Pete Apps investigates

  • Hopkins building idea 'ludicrous', says council housing chief

    14 January 2014

    Bradford Council’s housing chief has slammed Kris Hopkins’ idea of building 20,000 homes in an area of the city as ‘ludicrous’.

  • Rallying cry

    12 September 2013

Resources

  • At the heart of health

    13/09/2013

    Halton Housing Trust is at the centre of local decision-making on healthcare, but its enviable position is no accident. Austin Macauley finds out how the 6,400-home landlord became involved in more than just housing

  • Nowhere to call home

    12/07/2013

    Scrapping planning rules gives councils carte blanche to evict Gypsies and Travellers, says Marc Willers, barrister at Garden Court Chambers

  • Hold it together

    24/05/2013

    The Anti-Social Behaviour Bill should be amended so that groups of offenders can be tried together, argues Jane Plant

  • The dangers of damp

    30/08/2013

    Landlords should take damp and mould seriously to avoid conviction, says Timothy Waitt

  • No right to shut the door

    21/06/2013

    All homeless 16 and 17-year-olds should be dealt with by social services departments, says John Gallagher, principal solicitor at Shelter