Today, the government released their response to a Women and Equalities Committee Report which called for action to address the ‘stark’ inequalities experienced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. In the response, the government confirmed the launch of a new national strategy to tackle these inequalities, committed to improving data collection and to improving processes to ensure health funding reaches Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.
We widely welcome the commitments laid out in the response, however, are concerned at the absence of a timescale or the length of the timescale outlined in some places. Many of the pieces of work outlined have been underway for some time, for example, the scoping exercise on data monitoring in the NHS. If the government plan is to make a real change in the lives of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, it is essential that commitments have clear timescales and are prioritised in the work of government departments.
When anticipating the government’s response, we looked forward to finding out more information on the new national strategy to tackle Gypsy, Roma and Traveller inequalities, however there is little detail to be learned today. The strategy should be developed working closely with members of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, should contain clear timelines of when each commitment will be achieved and the government should allocate adequate resources and funding in order to realise the ambitions set out.
In response to the government announcement, Abbie Kirkby, Advice and Policy Manager at Friends, Families and Travellers said,
“There have been too many reports and meetings about the inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, yet little progress made. Now is the time for action.”
Speaking of the government response, Kate Green MP, Co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Gypsies, Travellers and Roma comments;
“For too long Gypsy Roma and Traveller communities have experienced stark inequalities in so many aspects of life, in health, education and access to accommodation. The government must now put its money where its mouth is and deliver a well-resourced national strategy with measureable progress to eliminate the appalling disparities that currently exist.”
Notes for Editor
About Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT)
Friends, Families and Travellers is a leading national charity that works on behalf of all Gypsies, Roma and Travellers regardless of ethnicity, culture or background.
Lucy Hetherington, Communications Officer
Tel: 01273 234 038 Email: [email protected]