A powerful new film about the problems Gypsies and Travellers face accessing banking and insurance has been produced by the Financial Times newspaper. London Gypsies and Travellers assisted with the making of the film, which includes interviews with LGT Board member Marian Mahoney and Accommodation Advice Support Worker Warren Lee.
The video, available to view on the Financial Times website and below, presents testimony from Gypsies and Travellers and financial experts to show how the community is being financially excluded – with many people being refused car or home insurance because they live on sites rather than addresses that are deemed “permanent”. For others, premiums are so inflated that they are unaffordable.
Marian Mahoney tells how she has found it impossible to get insurance for the contents of her chalet and fixed caravan at a site in Bow, East London. “Some Travellers even find it difficult to get insurance for the cost of funerals,” she says. “It’s also very difficult to get hire purchase or a loan.”
Warren Lee calls for tighter regulation of the financial industry to alleviate the problem. “There also needs to be internal pressure from within these organisations to say: it’s not right what we’re doing.”
Robert Wright, the Financial Times journalist who narrates and produced the film, concludes that there is little dispute that the UK’s Gypsies and Travellers face a hard time obtaining a range of financial services. “The community is organising to curb abuses, but the financial services industry continues to insist there is no fundamental problem.”