Ruffley slams Government inaction on Travellers sites

Monday, 8 November, 2004

The House of Commons Select Committee for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has today published their report on Gypsy and Traveller Sites. They have put forward a series of recommendations, including the introduction of a statutory duty on local authorities to make or facilitate the provision of sites for Gypsies and Travellers. David Ruffley has been campaigning on this issue since the establishment of a traveller's site near Woolpit this summer.

David said:

'I am glad that the Committee has echoed the sensible views I put to the Government in a debate in the House of Commons in September. During this debate I raised the need for official travellers' sites. The Government said in November 2003 that it was 'actively considering' how to ensure the provision of travellers sites. This all-party Committee has now publicly stated they 'are not satisfied that sufficient progress has been made by the Government'. Neither am I.

'I wholeheartedly agree with the Committee that the Government must provide a statutory framework for traveller's sites. In addition we need both political leadership and capital funding from this Government. Without this support small councils, such as Mid Suffolk, simply do not have the resources or time to deal effectively with this issue.

'I echo the view of the Committee that the data available for the number of Gypsies and travellers and their respective housing needs is severely lacking. We cannot tackle this issue without knowing fully, what the scale of the problem is.

'I call once again on the Government to publish the results of their own review of accommodation for Gypsies and Travellers. They continue to promise action. But they continually fail to deliver.'