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Complainant Name:
Irish Traveller Movement in Britain

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Worksop Guardian

Complaint:

Mr Mike Doherty of the Irish Traveller Movement in Britain complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the article included inaccurate information in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code. The complainant said that the article included misleading quotations from a local resident that incorrectly suggested Gypsies and Travellers living on authorised council and private sites did not pay taxes.

Resolution:

The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the publication of the following letter from the complainant in the newspaper and on its website:

A recent article in the Worksop Guardian reported on local reactions to the proposal for a Local Authority Gypsy/Traveller site in Kiveton (Resident's Fury at Gypsy Caravan Site).

Unfortunately, the article includes a quote from an unnamed local resident who says: "The police don't want to know about the nuisance, they don't pay taxes and they don't live by our rules. I've got nothing against the people themselves." Whilst everyone is entitled to their opinions, the resident is incorrect when he says that gypsies and travellers do not pay taxes.

In fact, the majority of gypsies and travellers in England and Wales live on authorised (legal) council or private sites or in ‘bricks and mortar' housing and are required to pay council taxes the same as any other council resident. As for other taxes, all gypsies and travellers wherever they live are subject to the same income tax and VAT laws as anyone else in the UK. P60's and income tax return forms do not have a little box that you can tick that exempts you from tax if you are a traveller.

As for gypsies and travellers living in unauthorised camps and by the roadside, they are effectively homeless because they have nowhere safe and secure to put their caravans. An increase in permanent and transit sites means more ratepayers. Well managed local authority owned traveller sites bring in revenue for cash-strapped councils once built. The economic and social costs of unauthorised camps are enormous and impact upon local settled people and on gypsies and travellers.

Whatever the outcome of the proposal for the small gypsy and traveller site in Kiveton we hope that the process is guided by law and not by prejudice and ignorance.

Date Published: 18/07/2013



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