Common Ground: Equality, Good Race Relations and Sites for Gypsies and Irish Travellers Sarah Spencer (CRE commissioner and chair of the advisory committee)


Gypsies have been a part of British society since the 1500s, Irish Travellers since the 1800s. Yet their relations with others in the communities where they live or pass through are often so poor that they lead separate, even parallel lives. The purpose of this inquiry was to explore whether local authorities, through their arrangements for planning, providing and managing sites, were promoting equal opportunities and good race relations, in line with their duty under the Race Relations Act. It also sought to explore the role of the police, in policing sites and managing unauthorised encampments. Its findings are based on evidence from 236 local authorities, nine of whom were selected for closer study, and from over 400 other organisations and individuals, including Gypsies, Irish Travellers and other members of the public, who responded to the call for evidence. This report therefore provides a unique insight into the current situation, and the first authoritative evidence of the need for reform.


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