In advance of the elections for Mayor of London and London Assembly on 6th May, London Gypsies and Travellers organised a hustings event focused on the needs and asks of Gypsies and Travellers across the capital. The event took place online on 23rd March and can be watched in full here.
Candidates from the Green Party, Conservative Party, Liberal Democrats and Labour responded to the London Gypsy and Traveller Forum Manifesto on issues related to accommodation, discrimination, mental health and Covid19 recovery.
Community members made powerful contributions about their experiences of prejudice, marginalisation and neglect, in terms of education, living conditions, the accommodation crisis and relationships with their local councils, which have been exacerbated throughout the pandemic.
Some of the concerns raised by Gypsies and Travellers as part of the discussion related to the very damaging proposals under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to criminalise stopping roadside, the negative impacts of the government’s planning definition excluding all Gypsies and Travellers who are permanently settled, the economic impacts of Covid19 on Showmen and the mental health of young people.
In closing the meeting, Tracie Giles, Chair of the London Gypsy and Traveller Forum said: ‘This is the second hustings that I’ve chaired and at the last one in 2016 there was a lot of verbal commitment but unfortunately I haven’t seen any change in the last five years for Gypsy and Traveller communities. I hope candidates will get a little bit of an insight of the dracoanian approach to how we are being treated by institutions and policies. It saddens me to think that we are having to ask in 2021 for our basic human needs to be met.’
Watch the candidates’ statements below
Statement from the Green Party
Statement from the Conservative Party
Statement from the Liberal Democrat Party
Statement from the Labour Party