COUNCILS should improve standards and facilities at Gypsy/Traveller sites in their regions, the Scottish Greens have said.
Speaking ahead of the local elections, equalities spokesperson Maggie Chapman highlighted the case of Clinterty travellers’ site in Aberdeen, which despite seeing improvements will not have its capacity significantly increased.
Chapman commented: “Given we have known that many sites fail to meet basic living standards for many years, improvements are long overdue and the new councils elected tomorrow need to step up efforts to improve conditions for Travellers across Scotland.
"Gypsy/Traveller communities themselves will know best what their communities need, and so it is extremely important that councils work with the community to agree where money should be spent, and that includes recognising the impact of restricting access to sites of historical importance to this community.
Chapman added: “Traveller communities continue to experience poorer living standards, education, health and employment, and often face extreme and persistent stereotyping and hostility, and the least they deserve is decent conditions and facilities at the sites they use.”
In March, Scottish investigative journalism platform The Ferret reported that no cash from a £20 million fund to improve accommodation for Gypsy/Traveller people had been spent since it was announced by the Scottish Government in 2021.
According to a freedom of information request, no money earmarked for “significant renovation of existing sites and the building of new sites” had been transferred to local authorities, despite 12 councils bidding for the funding.
Lynne Tammi, a trustee for the Gypsy/Traveller charity Article 12, commented: “While I appreciate that Covid-19 and Brexit have caused a certain amount of delay to progress, I do think that given the state of some of the permanent sites that we should be seeing some progress with the drawing down of the package announced last year.”