HC Deb 19 June 1972 vol 839 cc6-7
8. Mr. Ellis

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many county councils in Wales have now provided proper accommodation for gipsies and other itinerant caravan dwellers.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

Three; they are Carmarthenshire, Monmouthshire and Pembrokeshire County Councils. There are also pitches for gipsy caravans on a local authority site in Glamorgan.

Mr. Ellis

Why is Wales to be seen in this respect in so much less favourable a light than England?

Mr. Gibson-Watt

If the hon. Gentleman would show me to which particular parts of England he is referring perhaps I can look into the matter and give him a proper answer.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

Since my hon. Friend is apparently of the view that provision for gipsies in Pembroke has been adequately made, may I ask him whether he is aware that many of us on both sides of the House are concerned that local authorities are being slow to meet their obligations, both legally and morally? If they continue to take this line, what further action does my hon. Friend consider possible?

Mr. Gibson-Watt

My hon. Friend will be aware that this is a local authority responsibility. Any further steps taken by Government would of necessity take the line either of circulars of advice or of further legislation, which we are certainly not considering at the moment.

Mr. Roy Hughes

Does the hon. Gentleman appreciate that this is still a considerable problem in Newport and that I have had occasion to write to the Secretary of State about this matter again over the weekend? Will he take steps to see that the local authorities give more urgent attention to these matters in Wales?

Mr. Gibson-Watt

I am prepared to agree with the hon. Gentleman that it is necessary to make faster progress in Wales.