Social Welfare Lawyers in the Centre of Birmingham

Is Britain Fairer?

The Equality and Human Rights Commission have produced the report ‘Is Britain Fairer? The state of equality and human rights 2015’.

We reproduce below the relevant parts relating to Gypsies and Travellers.  You can find a copy of the report at:-

Gypsy and Traveller pupils continued to have the lowest educational attainment rates (page 22).

There was some improvement by Gypsy and Traveller children in England between 2008/2009 and 2012/2013.  However, these pupils continued to have the lowest attainment levels of any ethnicity, and the gap with other White children widened as the latter saw larger improvements (page 24).

The very highest exclusion rates in Scotland in 2010/2011 were for Gypsy Travellers and Other Travellers (57-175 exclusions per 1,000 pupils)…However, more recent publications do not provide statistics at this level of detail (page 29).

Gypsy or Irish Travellers have the highest proportion of self-employed workers compared with people from any other ethnic minority (page 39).

Concerns were raised…about the quality and location of sites for Gypsies and Travellers.  Since 2010, the number of Traveller caravans on socially-rented sites in England has remained relatively stable…However, the number on authorised private sites has increased, while decreasing on unauthorised sites.  A much higher proportion of traveller caravans in Wales (62%) were on socially-rented sites than in England (34%)…In Scotland, Census data indicated that, in 2011, 14% of Gypsy Travellers lived in caravans or some other mobile or temporary structure (page 44).

Self-reported health status for some people with protected characteristics was worse (in the 2011 Census).  For example, in all three countries a greater proportion of Gypsies and Travellers rated their health as bad or very bad compared with other ethnicities (page 50).

Bad health also particularly affected Gypsies and Travellers:-

In all three countries, a greater proportion of Gypsies and Travellers rated their health as bad or very bad compared with people from other ethnicities…

– an ONS report noted that, while the variability and general health among people from different ethnic minorities could sometimes be explained by the differing age structures (that is, an older age profile), this was not the case for Gypsies and Travellers…

– Gypsies and Travellers were known to have low child immunisation levels, higher prevalence of anxiety and depression, chronic cough or bronchitis (even after smoking is taken into account), asthma, chest pain and diabetes, as compared with the general population (page 52).

White people are estimated to have among the highest life expectancies in England…however, the life expectancy of Gypsies and Travellers is lower, and below that of other ethnicities (page 52).

Many Gypsies and Travellers remained unregistered with GP’s…In Scotland, some GP practices refused to register Gypsy Travellers on the grounds that they had no fixed address or photographic ID, or could not guarantee that they would stay in the area for at least three months…The Welsh Government set out measures to improve the delivery of healthcare for Gypsies and Travellers…In Scotland a range of approaches were being employed by health boards to improve services for Gypsy Travellers, including outreach initiatives and health visits to sites, and linking patients directly to GP practices and dentists (page 54-55).

Stigma towards Gypsies, Roma and Travellers in Britain remained an issue of concern:-

• Evidence from the Spring 2014 Global Attitudes Survey suggested that half of Britons had an unfavourable view of Gypsies or Roma people…

• The European Commission concluded in 2013 that the UK had failed to make progress on 4 of the steps aimed at fighting discrimination set out in its 2011 Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies (page 93).

Concerns were expressed about the potential impact on some people of the introduction of Individual Electoral Registration (IER).  Under the IER system voters have to be registered individually and provide identification in order to be registered.  The potentially disproportionate impact of IER on young people, people from mobile populations (such as Gypsies and Travellers) and disabled people was highlighted (page 94).

The nature of the disadvantages faced by some vulnerable people (for example, the fast-growing numbers of people in their 80’s/90’s,  transgender people, Gypsies and Travellers, and children and young people affected by abuse and exploitation) risks rendering them ‘invisible’.  Greater effort is needed to identify the scale and nature of the issues affecting people with these and other characteristics (page 98).

Gypsy and Traveller children in England continued to have the lowest attainment levels, and the gap between them and other White children widened as the latter saw larger improvements (page 99).

Some people, such as transgender people, Gypsies and Travellers, homeless people and migrant communities, experienced problems accessing healthcare services (page 101).