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Better support for Gypsy/Travellers

Improving sites and facilities to reduce inequalities.

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The needs of Gypsy/Travellers will be better addressed under strengthened guidance for local authorities.

The refreshed Local Housing Strategy Guidance requires local authorities to increase engagement with the Gypsy/Traveller community to ensure their voices are heard so that standards can be improved and current and future accommodation needs are met.

To help reduce health inequalities, race inequality, child poverty and improve educational attainment, local authorities will report on what support services are available, the gaps in provision and how this is being addressed.

The guidance also includes requirements to increase the supply of wheelchair accessible housing across Scotland, supporting more choice and flexibility for disabled people and their families.

As a commitment in the 2019–20 Programme for Government, the guidance will support local authorities to develop housing plans which cover everything from housing advice and homelessness to new builds and refurbishment.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “We are determined to work closely with the Gypsy/Traveller community and to hear from them so we can better meet their needs and improve the quality of life for members of the community.

“Having access to good quality accommodation helps to create communities, tackle the attainment gap, improve life opportunities and regenerate the places we live.

“Developing an effective Local Housing Strategy supports authorities to make a difference locally and to monitor progress against national and local priorities and targets.”

The Housing Act 2001 places a statutory requirement on local authorities to produce a Local Housing Strategy that sets out its priorities and plans for the delivery of housing and related services. The Scottish Government expects a LHS to be prepared and submitted around every five years.