Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gypsies and Travellers

Here is the Conservative-LibDem coalition programme.

I'm getting quite a few emails on Gypsy & Traveller education, so correspondents may find it reassuring to see the statement in the programme under 'Spending Review', that

"We will fund a significant premium for disadvantaged pupils from outside the schools budget by reductions in spending elsewhere"

Since many research studies show that Gypsy & Traveller children are the most deprived of all ethnic minority children, this commitment is very good news.

Tomorrow afternoon an announcement will be made on the division of responsibilities among junior ministers at the DCSF, and there are reasons to hope that an effective person will be appointed to implement the commitment to disadvantaged children.

On the question of ending unauthorised encampments by ensuring that enough land is made available for authorised sites, the LibDems pledged during the election that

' we are not intending to disturb the plans already in place for providing traveller sites'.

One would expect that a LibDem Minister appointed to the DCLG will see that this is honoured. And the joint leaders of the two parties have said they will get on with measures that are agreed, leaving contentious issues aside, meaning that the statement made by Caroline Spelman MP on Travellers in the Conservative manifesto will need to be laid aside..

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