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The BBC's Ben Brown
"The latest mass evictions have raised new questions"
 real 56k

Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce, Martin Wylie
"Its a huge unnecessary cost to businesses"
 real 28k

Thursday, 24 August, 2000, 19:03 GMT 20:03 UK
Plan to tackle 'nuisance' travellers
travellers
The Tories have turned their attention to travellers
New proposals for dealing with the "nuisance" caused by travellers have been launched by the Conservatives.

The party's policies aim to prevent travellers breaking the law and include withholding benefits if eviction orders are not obeyed.


People feel that they are powerless and think the authorities can do nothing to help

Archie Norman
The announcement comes as the police in Reading and Wokingham evicted more than 500 travellers after a rise in petty crime the area.

Shadow environment secretary Archie Norman said his party recognised the right of travellers to live the life they chose, but added the reputation of all travellers suffered "when some create havoc and mess wherever they go".

Mr Norman criticised some travellers for behaving as if they were above the law, and he attacked Labour for "dither and delay" in dealing with problems related to the travelling community.

He said: "People feel that they are powerless and think the authorities can do nothing to help."

This latest plank in the Tory's Common Sense Revolution, hopes to ensure that travellers obey the law on trespass, animals rights and road tax.

Mr Norman also wants to stop local authorities overlooking minor offences and speed up the process of eviction of trespassers.

Current loopholes in the law which allow travellers to move to other local sites when they have been evicted would be torn up.

'Can work, must work'

This proposal would also stop other travellers from occupying land from which other evictions have recently taken place.

As well as giving courts powers to withhold income support from travellers who persistently refuse to obey eviction orders, the party would attempt to make travellers subject to the Conservative "can work, must work" guarantee.

Landowners would also be encouraged to seek compensation from those who damage their property.

Local authorities would be required to provide designated transit sites for travellers, which would then stop their claims that there was nowhere for them to go.

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See also:

05 Oct 99 | UK Politics
Tories make new promises
19 Aug 99 | UK Politics
Straw reported to race watchdog
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