Today, Tuesday 12th December, the Advice and Policy team at Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT) released a report which shows that government is failing to address a chronic shortage of Gypsy and Traveller sites nationally. In recent debates, parliamentarians called for increased eviction powers to deal with unauthorised encampments in their areas, but little attention was given to the root cause of this issue; the chronic shortage of sites across the UK for Gypsy and Traveller families to live.
The report also illustrates how official figures produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government and Homes and Communities Agency on ‘new’ socially rented Gypsy and Traveller pitches are misleading and do not represent an actual net increase in pitches. The report found that:
- There has been only been a 2% increase in socially rented pitches between 2010 and 2017; an insufficient number to address even natural growth through household formation, let alone a historic lack of pitches for Gypsy and Traveller families.
- The government reported an increase of 551 affordable pitches for Gypsies and Travellers between 2012 and 2017 but the actual figure is no more than 339.
- 16% of caravans in the July 2017 national caravan count were on unauthorised land, largely as a result of a chronic shortage of Gypsy and Traveller sites.
Speaking of the report, Sarah Mann, Co-Director of Friends, Families and Travellers said,
“Parliamentarians must stop talking about Gypsy and Traveller families as if they are the problem and recognise that the government is failing to provide sites. This report shows that the mechanisms which should create places for Gypsy and Traveller families to live are not working and must be fixed urgently.”
Notes for Editors
Friends, Families and Travellers is a leading national charity working to end racism and discrimination against all Gypsies, Travellers and Roma, and to protect the right to a nomadic way of life.