Gypsies are legally distinct
I AM writing with regard to the article about objections to the HDC planners recommendation to agree the temporary siting of two pitches involving up to four caravans in Somersham (The Hunts Post, July 9). I would point out to those people objecting on t
I AM writing with regard to the article about objections to the HDC planners' recommendation to agree the temporary siting of two pitches involving up to four caravans in Somersham (The Hunts Post, July 9).
I would point out to those people objecting on the grounds that the applicant is settled and cannot be regarded as a traveller that, since 1988, Romany gypsies have been recognised in law as a distinct ethnic group for the purposes of the Race Relations Act 1976 and Irish travellers since 2000.
Many gypsies and travellers move into houses because of the lack of available pitches, and a study by Sheffield University in 2004 revealed that many experience worse physical and mental health in houses.
Finally, I must mention that in a representative poll for Stonewall, conducted by MORI in England in 2003, more than one-third of the adults who took part admitted to being personally prejudiced against gypsies and travellers. This was greater than the levels of prejudice reported towards lesbians and gay men, other ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.
Would the residents of Somersham have been so vociferous about a planning application had it not involved travellers?
The Commission for Racial Equality was quite right in suggesting that the discrimination experienced by gypsies and travellers is "the last acceptable racism".
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