Councils failing travellers with “subhuman” sites

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Majority of sites do not meet minimum standards 

6th March 2019 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Council sites for travellers have been called “subhuman” with many falling below minimum standards.

The Scottish Housing Regulator has warned that 27 council-run parks have to improve on safety, facilities and security.

Cosla, which represents Scotland’s 32 local authorities, said steps were being taken to address the issues.

However the SHR said that travellers had a "fundamental right to live in safe and secure homes, in communities where their cultures and traditions are respected."

It added: "It's a huge concern to SHR that all sites did not meet the site standards by the deadline of June 2018."

At present, Scottish councils provide around 500 pitches for travellers across 32 sites. Most council sites are open all year round, although a few councils operate seasonal sites to deal with an increased need for pitches during the summer. Site sizes vary, from fewer than 10 pitches to up to 30.

The Scottish Government said it is each council’s responsibility to provide funding for the sites and to ensure they meet required standards.

Davie Donaldson, who campaigns on behalf of travellers, said: "In some cases the people living on the sites have described them as sub-human.”

"We've had people from the community giving evidence in reports for years now.

"The government are very good at doing reports, but they're not very good at putting their hands in their pockets when it comes to fixing the issues."

Elena Whitham, Cosla’s spokeswoman for community wellbeing, said they were committed to protecting and promoting the rights of travellers.

"Everyone living in our communities has the right to a safe and secure place to stay, and that is why Cosla and our member councils are determined to support better accommodation and experiences for Gypsy/Traveller communities," she said.

"This was a commitment made loud and clear by council leaders earlier this month."