Councils pledge ‘local leadership’ on Gypsy/Travellers’ rights
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Scotland’s Council Leaders have pledged action to improve the lives of Scotland’s Gypsy/Travellers and tackle discrimination towards the community.

Meeting at COSLA’s head-quarters in Edinburgh, Scotland’s leading local politicians met with Gypsy/Traveller activists to hear about the difficulties they face in seeking to live a traditional lifestyle.

All 32 Council Leaders unanimously approved work to develop a national action plan with the Scottish Government to drive progress and pledged to work with other public bodies to ensure that Gypsy/Travellers are receiving equal access to essential services.

Commenting, Councillor Alison Evison, COSLA President said:

“Scottish Local Government has a vital role to play in protecting and promoting the rights of Gypsy/Travellers, who should be respected members of our diverse communities with a culture that is valued.

“It was deeply moving to hear the direct experience of a Traveller as she described having to hide her identity - and even change her name - in order to avoid discrimination and get a job in her local area.

“Such experiences cannot continue, and I am proud that COSLA unanimously voted to take urgent action for the community.”

Councillor Elena Whitham, COSLA Housing Spokesperson said:

“Everyone living in our communities has the right to a safe and secure place to stay, but we know this isn’t always the case for our Gypsy/Traveller communities.

“Gypsy/Traveller communities have rightly called for more and better provision of permanent sites across Scotland.  This will take hard work and a strong partnership with the Scottish Government to deliver, but it is something that all of our 32 councils are committed to achieving.”