MP seeks government help to pay for Traveller eviction

By Grattan Puxon

Because it is believe hundreds of supporters of the Save Dale Farm campaign are ready to help families oppose the eviction estimates for the cost of policing the operation have soared from £2m to as high as £10m. The contract with bailiffs Constant & Co. could add a further £3m.

As neither Essex police nor Basildon council can meet this bill due to budget cuts, local MP John Baron is going cap in hand to Home Secretary Theresa May for the money. Facing a ten percent squeeze herself, some believe it’s unlikely she’ll oblige.

The need for Home Office funding also raises the issue of central government responsibility for what many see as an act of ethnic-cleansing comparable to recent Roma expulsions in France. UN bodies have twice asked the UK to halt the Dale Farm eviction until acceptable alternative accommodation can be found for the 90 families being made homeless.

“All the Government now has to do is refuse the funding”, says Gypsy Council leader Richard Sheridan. “We only want to stay where we are and that’ll cost nothing.”

A test case opening in Southend County Court today (20 Oct) may determine whether Basildon council must find sites for mobile-home parks to meet the needs of Travellers refusing to accept brick-and-mortar accommodation. All who registered as homeless expressed a wish to continue their traditional communal living in caravans and movable chalets.

Dale Farm mothers attending the second day of the hearings will hold a demonstration outside the court at 11 am tomorrow (21 Oct).

If unsuccessful in the domestic courts, they want to get a hearing in the European Court of Human Rights. Judges there have recently stated that loss of one’s home through forced
eviction is the most extreme interference with a person’s rights under Article 8.

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