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Volume 929: debated on Wednesday 6 April 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if the Cripps Report on Gipsies has now been published; and if he will make a statement.

The report was published today; copies have been placed in the Library. My right hon. Friend and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales have long been concerned about the mounting evidence of dangerous tensions between gipsies and house dwellers, of which the lack of caravan sites for gipsies is the basic cause. They commend the report as a throughtful and concise analysis of the many problems connected with the provision of adequate accommodation for gipsies.Some of the recommendations endorse the Departments' present policies and the work now in progress; others if adopted would mean new policies and in some instances new legislation. However, no decisions will be taken on the new proposals until the completion of the wide-ranging consultations now being initiated; comments and suggestions on the report and its recommendations are wanted—preferably by the end of July—from all those concerned in any way with this difficult subject. In the meantime the Departments will continue to assist and advise, and to carry out discussions with authorities and groups of authorities with a view to assessing the scale of need for sites and to establishing timetables for their provision.I shall be visiting a number of areas in England to see the situation for myself and talk about it to the people concerned.