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Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Bishop supports appeal for official Travellers' sites
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¬†The Bishop of Lancaster, Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue has backed calls from all sides of the Government to ensure that councils provide permanent sites for Travellers and Gypsies. Since the Government in 1994 removed the obligation on councils to provide official sites for Travellers and Gypsies in 1994, increasing numbers have been left without anywhere to legally park their caravans. Some who have bought land in rural areas have faced discrimination and violent attacks when they try to settle on it ≠ with local communities complaining that they place a strain on amenities. The Government committee report says there are 14,300 Gypsy and Traveller caravans in the UK. The total population is between 90,000 and 120,000. About 41 per cent are on local authority sites, 34 per cent on private ones and the remainder on illegal plots. The committee says between 1,000 and 2,000 extra plots will be required within three years. It suggests each authority should provide a site for 18 caravans. Bishop O'Donoghue said: "I welcome calls for local authorities to provide permanent sites with proper facilities. Travellers have a much shorter lifespan and suffer many more health problems than the general population because they do not receive immunisation or pre and post natal care. The children suffer terribly from lack of education, "The Church has been appealing for permanent sites for more than 20 years. I am sure that if the Travellers are given official sites most of the environmental and social problems we see currently will disappear."
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