There has been a persistent failure by national and local policy makers to tackle long standing inequalities facing Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in any sustained way, says a major new report by MP’s out today.
The report by the Women and Equalities Committee, two years in the making, found that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people have the worst outcomes of any ethnic group across a huge range of areas, including education, health, employment, criminal justice and hate crime. The report makes 49 recommendations for change.
Amongst its findings, Pupils from Gypsy or Roma backgrounds and those from a Traveller or Irish Heritage background had the lowest attainment of all ethnic groups throughout their school years.
Fourteen per cent of Gypsies and Travellers describe their health as “bad” or “very bad” – more than twice as high as white British people while the health status of Gypsies and Travellers is much poorer than that of the general population, even when controlling for other factors such as variable socio-economic status and/or ethnicity.
Life expectancy is 10-12 years less than that of the non-Traveller population and One in five Gypsy Traveller mothers will experience the loss of a child, compared with one in a hundred in the non- Traveller community.
Women and Equalities Committee Chair Maria Miller said:
“Gypsy Roma and Traveller people have been comprehensively failed by policy makers and public services for far too long. Access to education, health, employment, criminal justice, tackling hate crime and domestic violence – all these require services which differentiate between different groups who have different needs, and yet so many services are ill-equipped to support Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people. The Government must stop filing this under ‘too difficult’ and set out how it intends to improve health, education and other outcomes for these very marginalised communities who area all too often “out of sight and out of mind.”
While the number of Gypsy Roma and Traveller people in the UK may be small compared to other groups, the Government’s commitment to race equality must reach even the most disenfranchised”.