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UK Housing Policy and Practice

Gypsies And Travellers

Introduction

The rights of Gypsies and Travellers to pursue their chosen way of life are enshrined in national and international legislation. Experience has shown however, that these rights are rarely upheld or supported in practice. Gypsies and Travellers have the poorest life chances of any ethnic group in the UK and face widespread discrimination. Provision of suitable accommodation has a vital role to play in supporting the long-established way of life of Gypsies and Travellers and in enabling them to have a recognised stake in society. 

The BSHF Consultation which took place at St George’s House, Windsor Castle in June 2007 identified practical ways in which housing organisations and public agencies can work together with Gypsies and Travellers and local communities to provide appropriate accommodation and support for their chosen way of life, as well as promoting respect and understanding between Gypsies and Travellers and other members of the public. The results and recommendations that emerged from the Consultation were published as Out in the Open.

Following the Consultation BSHF worked to develop and implement a number of the recommendations outlined in the report. The first of these was a review of Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessments (GTAAs) in the East Midlands. This included a ‘benchmarking’ exercise for each GTAA and encouragingly, the majority of GTAAs were found to be relatively sound. This research was submitted to the consultation on the East Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy. A national review of the GTAA process by the University of Birmingham was supported by BSHF.