Sunday, 21 September 2014

Gypsy and Traveller inequalities targeted

The government has issued a series of commitments to tackle inequalities facing Travellers and Gypsies including using the new homes bonus to fund the development of legal sites.

Andrew Stunell, communities minister, said today that the government was committed to providing appropriate accommodation for Travellers and Gypsies while also protecting them from harassment.

In a progress report issued today by the ministerial group on tackling inequalities experienced by Gypsies and Travellers, 28 measures have been identified which – it is claimed – will improve outcomes for the groups.

Commitments in the report include:

  • piloting a ‘virtual headteacher’ who will champion the interests of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils across their local authority and respond to issues of low attainment and attendance
  • work to build on our support for authorised sites that have the backing of the local community, through £60 million Traveller Pitch Funding and the new homes bonus to match monies raised through council tax. Both the settled and travelling communities will benefit from such an approach
  • improving knowledge of how Gypsies and Travellers engage with employment services
  • preventing hate crime, increasing reporting of incidents and challenging the attitudes that underpin it

The report also says that well run private sites should be promoted to local authorities, potential residents and the public in order to show the positive face of Traveller and Gypsy pitches.

Mr Stunell said: ‘Fairness is one of the key values of the government and this means everyone having the chance to do well irrespective of their background or their beginnings.

‘This report sets out how work across key government departments will help tackle inequalities faced by Gypsies and Travellers and help improve the lives of those communities to the benefit of all.’

Readers' comments (1)

  • Legislation already existed to facilitate legal sites for Gypsies and travellers. Local councils drag their heels and are surprised when faced with illegal occupations of land, and long winded legal processes. Lack of legal sites frequently ended up in councils losing appeals and court cases.

    The real problem is local councils and councillors' prejudices.

    It is time local councillors came out of their populist shells and showed some real leadership - not live in fear of minority prejudices and losing votes.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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