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Gypsies and Travellers

Volume 474: debated on Tuesday 1 April 2008

I am today publishing the Government’s response to “The Road Ahead: The Final Report of the Independent Task Group on Site Provision and Enforcement for Gypsies and Travellers”.

In 2006, the Government appointed Sir Brian Briscoe to chair a task group to examine the barriers local authorities face in taking effective enforcement action against unauthorised encampments and developments by Gypsies and Travellers. We were pleased to accept the task group’s request that their terms of reference be amended to also include an examination of the barriers to effective site provision. The task group published their final report in December 2007 and made 36 recommendations which covered the roles of central and local government as well as a range of other stakeholders.

The Government’s approach balances firm but fair enforcement against those who camp on land without permission or who breach development control, with proactive measures to increase site provision. We are pleased that the task group agreed that this is the right approach.

In our response, the Government are today announcing our intention to provide an annual policy update to Parliament on Gypsy and Traveller issues, as well as to co-ordinate an annual meeting between Communities and Local Government and the organisations represented on the task group, or their successors.

Copies of the publication are available in the Libraries of both Houses.