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Volume 931: debated on Monday 9 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans have been made, following his statement in the House, Official Report, 6th April col. 528–9, for ministerial visits to gipsy sites.

We are anxious to obtain as much first-hand experience as we can of this urgent problem and of the way local authorities are tackling it. This will help in our discussions about the recommendations in the Cripps Report.I therefore propose to visit all kinds of gipsy sites in England—temporary and permanent, simple and fully-equipped, as well as unauthorised encampments, over as wide an area as possible. We particularly want to talk to the people who are most affected—the gipsies themselves, and their near neighbours. My first visit, on 12th May, will be to sites in the London boroughs of Newham, Tower Hamlets and Lewisham. On 16th May I shall be visiting sites in Oldham, Preston and Liverpool. Details of further visits will be announced as soon as arrangements have been made.