Today, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities announced which local authorities have received a portion of its £10M Traveller Site Fund (TSF).
Friends, Families and Travellers is pleased to see that the TSF which will go to 9 Local Authorities for the refurbishment of sites, as well as towards the development of a new transit site in Cornwall. We welcome this critical funding.
However, out of the 16 grants awarded, only one has gone towards the development of a new transit site. This falls far short of the number of safe stopping places and sites that must be developed, to help provide accommodation security for Gypsy and Traveller people.
The Traveller Site Fund should signal the beginning of a structured and consistent funding allocation programme for more safe stopping places for the thousands of Gypsies and Travellers who are stuck on endless waiting lists.
With exact details yet to emerge, it’s clear the Government must also take action to tackle the energy crisis unravelling in Gypsy and Traveller communities, and to embed long-term resilience in site design.
As Preston Council stated, this funding will be vital in ensuring Gypsies and Travellers save money in outgoing energy bills, in Preston. Last year, FFT research found exorbitant costs associated with energy setups on sites in the South East:
- 97% of residents of sites managed by local authorities having no access to mains gas, and residents forced to purchase gas bottles instead;
- For 32% of the sites, local authorities confirmed they hold the electricity contract and sell the electricity onto residents as a third party;
- On 82% of the sites, residents were on prepayment meters (some directly to the supplier, some to the site owner).
While the Local Authorities that have received funding under the TSF have an opportunity to tackle energy issues, more concerted, national government action is urgently required as the cost of living and energy prices disproportionately impact Gypsies and Travellers.
Notes for Editor
About Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT)
Friends, Families and Travellers is a leading national charity that works to end racism and discrimination against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people and to protect the right to pursue a nomadic way of life.
Email: [email protected]
‘Councils supported with £10 million to improve traveller sites’. GOV.UK. June 2023. View here.
‘Traveller Site Fund 2022/23’. GOV.UK. June 2023. View here.
‘New report: Energy crisis worsening fuel poverty for Gypsy and Traveller people’. Friends, Families and Travellers. December 2022. Read report.