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Mayor Boris Johnson Breaches Gypsy and Traveller Human Rights

Travellers' caravan siteMayor Boris Johnson is being investigated by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) over whether he has breached race, equalities and human rights legislation, after he decided to scrap targets for gypsy and traveller pitches in London.

Labour Assembly member Jennette Arnold has asked the Commission to carry out an inspection following Johnson lowering the number of pitches to 238 and then dropping it altogether.

The Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessment that took place in 2008 found that 811 additional grounds were needed across London for the estimated 20,000 gypsies and travellers in London.

The Labour Assembly member has written to the EHRC indicating that Boris has broken the law and how the removal of targets has potentially discriminated against London gypsies and the traveller community.

Jennette Arnold, who worked with the community 20 years ago, said: “Gypsies and travellers are a legally recognised ethnic group and the Mayor has a legal duty to have regard to their needs. His failure to stand by the findings of the needs assessment in my view amounts to unlawful discrimination.”

The letter states: “Removing the pitch targets applied to London Boroughs for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation may amount in practice to discrimination against the Gypsy and Traveller community. It could have the effect of reducing the provision of pitches made available to them by the London Boroughs, or lead to other unforeseen discrimination taking place.”

The number of terrains in London has fallen by 14 per cent in the last 14 years, with some boroughs, such as Barnet, Havering and Enfield, having zero authorised at all.

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