Here is a mythbusting piece around the Roma, Gypsy and Traveller community in the UK, shared with me by one of its members. This is the poison we all need to challenge. Please read, share, and stand up to this bigotry.

First published in December 2019.

Traveller groups living on legal sites pay Council Tax – despite often having limited access to the things it funds and in some cases paying for some services twice. They also pay VAT on goods the same as anyone else.

Legal sites are usually either owned by the travellers themselves or the council, and the pitches rented – just the standing ground (for example, a pitch on a City of York site costs £75-£95 a week). Traveller sites therefore actually provide income direct to the council.

Traveller life expectancy is 50 for women, and 55 for men. This is appalling.

Traveller communities are diverse – for example all three sites in York are Anglo-Romani/Romanischal, the sites in Leeds are Menceir/Irish travellers – so you often can’t just move over spill from one site to another.

Be aware that most travellers don’t claim any state benefits.

Be aware that most police forces in the UK say they already have the powers they need and say that most crime related to the community is driven by lack of site provision.

This is what we’re up against. We need to oppose this unequivocally.

Be aware that companies (particularly power and water) often charge for services at a premium for traveller sites.

The traveller community is often hit by disproportionate enforcement around traditional occupations – for example when it was made illegal to trade in scrap metal for cash.

Be aware often cultural factors are at play. For example, travellers will often put more money into quality goods like china/crockery. This is a tradition, not about avoiding tax.

CHALLENGE these false narratives being driven by the media and the government whenever you see them. Stop allowing this demonisation. It is not OK.🔷

• The above text was written by someone in the Roma, Gypsy and Traveller Community who wishes to remain anonymous. Dr Jo Edge is simply a mouthpiece.

• The term ‘Gypsy’ has been reclaimed by some communities and isn’t considered a slur by all in the UK. The correct name for the community in the UK is ‘Roma, Gypsy and Traveller Community’.

• Also, ‘pi••y’ and ‘g•po’ are slurs.

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[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 21 December 2019, with the author’s consent, with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected. | The above text was written by someone in the Roma, Gypsy and Traveller Community who wishes to remain anonymous. Dr Jo Edge is simply a mouthpiece.]

(Cover: Dreamstime/Fedecandoniphoto.)