Last Thursday in the House of Lords, one of our local Peers Janet Whitaker asked a vital question on a subject she is very aware of and which she stands up for on a regular basis. Tragically the response from the Government was very inadequate and given that Stephen Greenhalgh was the person who responded we probably need a new Government. He was very closely associated with Boris Johnson during the time Johnson was the elected Mayor of London and so it is inconceivable that Greenhalgh’s views would be in conflict with Johnson’s views. The theme was meaningful provision for Gypsies and Travellers and whatever the views are within people who vote as well as the people who are elected, if our nation and our Councils fail to provide this provision, it is deeply problematic for both the Gypsies and Travellers and for people who get upset in settings where they have no formal locations to stay. So here is the meaningful question and the very pathetic response.
JW: My Lords, the Labour Government enacted legislation that obliged local authorities to assess the housing need of Gypsies and Travellers. Successive Governments have prayed this in aid as an improvement. The noble Lord the Minister will be aware that very few local authorities comply. What steps will Her Majesty’s Government take to monitor and enforce this legislation, which is of course the prerequisite for providing enough sites?
SG: My Lords, the Government expect local planning authorities to assess the need for Traveller sites in their area and to plan accordingly. We are not looking to introduce a statutory duty, as currently operates in Ireland; we do not see that as a necessary step.