From the moment the Housing and Planning Bill was proposed, Gypsies and Travellers around the country began to work together to challenge the government’s latest attempt to side-line their cultural needs. The Bill removed the requirement on councils to carry out assessments of Gypsy and Traveller accommodation needs. This backward step will make the future delivery of sites even less likely.
Building on the success of our “We still count” campaign in 2015, we brought together Gypsy and Traveller activists and joined forces with the Kill the Housing Bill Coalition. We worked with Gill Brown (secretariat for the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller All-Party Parliamentary Group) on proposed amendments as they were debated in the House of Lords.
On the 13th of March LGTU activists, staff and trustees marched and sang their way to Westminster demanding to ‘Kill the Housing Bill’! It was inspiring to see Gypsies and Travellers marching alongside thousands of others and to hear Lisa Buttigieg join the stage to give a passionate speech about the future of Gypsy and Traveller rights.
We were also actively involved in the community-led rally on the 21st of May called Dosta Grinta! – Enough is Enough! LGTU activists joined their voices with other Gypsy and Traveller campaigners at the rally in Parliament Square. Horses and wagons led the march to Downing Street, where a small group of young people handed in a petition to the government. The petition expressed the community’s strong feelings about harmful changes to the de nition of Gypsies and Travellers in planning law.