Communities unite in Drive to Survive

July 23, 2021

On the 7th of July, London Gypsies and Travellers joined Gypsy, Roma, Traveller people, politicians and allies from other movements in Parliament Square to resist the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. The peaceful demonstration was organised by Drive2Survive, a community-led coalition mobilising against the discriminatory measures of the Bill. The demo was the first in a series of community action events taking place this year.

Part 4 of the Police Bill introduces a new criminal offence for stopping over on land without consent, punishable with a fine, up to three months in prison and seizing caravans and other property. Due to the severe shortage of transit sites and stopping places across the country, the new legislation will have harmful impacts on Gypsy, Traveller and other nomadic communities who have no choice but to stop roadside. The provisions of the Bill are highly open to interpretation and abuse, as anyone deemed likely to cause damage or distress when stopping on a piece of land would be committing the new offence.

In a powerful speech at the Drive2Survive rally, Marian Mahoney, Vice Chair of LGT’s Board of Trustees, said: ‘Travellers are an ethnic minority. Our way of life goes back hundreds of years, not days, years. We don’t want to trespass but there is nowhere to go. Councils are letting us down, they’re not providing the sites and stopping places to accommodate our culture. We want to live alongside other communities and contribute to the areas where we stop.’

Addressing the politicians in Westminster, Marian invited them to have a dialogue with Gypsy and Traveller people: ‘Come out and talk to us, get to know us. We have so much to offer and you are missing out on so much that we can contribute to society.’

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will be passing through the House of Lords starting in September. This will be an opportunity for House of Lords members to further debate the Bill and put forward changes.

To find out more about the Drive2Survive campaign and future events, visit their website

More news

LGT sets housing agenda for new government

July 5, 2024

London Gypsies and Travellers is calling on the new Labour Government to address the housing crisis immediately and invest in social housing including specialist housing for Gypsies and Travellers. “The homelessness crisis needs to be fixed now,” says Tom Margetson, LGT’s Community Development Worker. “The lack of Gypsy and Traveller caravan sites is making people …

Police Act violates Gypsy Traveller rights, court rules

May 15, 2024

The High Court of Justice has ruled that sections of the Police Act 2022 – which allowed police to seize caravans and ban Gypsies and Travellers from an area for 12 months – are discriminatory and a violation of human rights. The landmark ruling has been hailed as “hugely significant” by the lawyers bringing the …

LGT’s impact marked in report and new film

February 12, 2024

LGT’s achievements over 25 years as an independent charity are marked in its 2023 Annual Report and a new film charting the organisation’s history and impact. “Throughout this time, LGT has consistently fought for equality and against discrimination, and been dedicated to keeping Gypsies and Travellers included in the decisions that affect them,” writes Helena …