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Richard Lochhead

Moray SNP News

SNP COUNCILLORS ATTEND GYPSY TRAVELLER EQUALITIES EVENT

23/11/2018  

SNP Convener of Moray Council, Cllr Shona Morrison, in her role as Equalities Champion and Cllr Louise Laing, Chair of Moray Council’s Communities Committee, have attended a seminar, held in Perth, on Negotiated Stopping Places for Gypsy Travellers.

The event was organised by COSLA and the Scottish Government to highlight some of the good work being done south of the border by Leeds Gate an organisation formed to improve the quality of life for Gypsy Travellers.

Leeds Council in partnership with Leeds Gate and various agencies trialled the idea of Negotiated Stopping Places several years ago and the benefits to both travelling and settled communities have been substantial as well as a significant reduction in the cost of dealing with unauthorised encampments.

At the moment the majority of local authorities in Scotland have varying provision but there is cross party agreement that all would benefit from a uniform approach in how that is delivered.

Speaking after the event Cllr Morrison said:

“The government and local authorities have a duty to provide services for our Traveller  communities, and the negotiated stopping place model does just that by offering families the opportunity to stop in an agreed place for a maximum of 28 days.  

“Gypsy Travellers suffer some of the greatest disadvantages of any minority group in Scotland.  Often access to services such as health and education is made difficult due to time restrictions or sites being far away from services. We have a responsibility to ensure everyone in our communities is treated with fairness and respect and the specific needs of individual groups are recognised and supported.”

Cllr Laing said:

“The benefits of negotiated stopping places in Leeds have been significant.  Both travelling and settled communities report a vast improvement and a reduction of tensions between Gypsy Travellers and local residents.

“Councils have been able to forge good working relationships often with representatives from travelling communities being involved in the process from the beginning.”

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