Scotland

Action plan to tackle Gypsy/Traveller discrimination

Horses at traveller site Image copyright Google
Image caption Local authorities will use £2m of the funding to improve accommodation and sites

A £3m action plan to tackle the discrimination and challenges faced by the Gypsy/Traveller community has been launched.

The plan, co-produced with local government body Cosla, will support a number of initiatives.

Local authorities will use £2m of the funding to improve accommodation and sites.

The remaining funding will go towards third sector children's education projects and health and social care.

A report published in 2018 found a failure by some local authorities to provide sites for travelling people which meet government standards.

It found that just two sites - in Angus and Falkirk - did so.

The action plan will focus on five key areas:

  • Providing more and better accommodation
  • Improving access to public services
  • Maximising household incomes
  • Tackling racism and discrimination
  • Strengthening community development and engagement

Equalities Minister Christina McKelvie said: "This action plan seeks to tackle deep-seated inequalities and discrimination experienced by Gypsy travellers by addressing the challenges they face.

"It is a collaborative approach with Cosla and we have listened to the concerns of Gypsy travellers. We want to make a difference to their lives and ensure they are treated fairly and have positive experiences of our public services.

"There is a long tradition of Gypsy travellers in Scotland and it is important the community feels safe and respected and know they are valued members of Scotland's diverse cultural heritage."

Dominique Barr, Gypsy traveller Women's Voices Project development worker at the Minority Ethnic Carers of People Project, said the plan sought to "tackle the numerous and entrenched problems experienced by Gypsy/Traveller communities in Scotland".

She said: "Over the past two years, the government and Cosla have worked with Gypsy travellers across Scotland to develop a realistic plan to tackle the problems that affect the community. Inadequate standards of living, poor access to public services and racism are among the problems the community faces.

"We are hopeful that the concerted efforts of all partners together with the community will drive forward real and lasting change."

Elena Whitham, Cosla's community wellbeing spokesperson, said all 32 council leaders had backed the plan and said it was "crucial" that words were turned into actions to rebuild trust with Gypsy traveller communities who should have their rights respected and be "fully included" in communities.

"The action plan is rightly ambitious about the changes we want to see and will continue to be driven by the passion and energy of the community to create better lives for their families," she said.

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