'Harman's Law' slated by Daily Mail

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Wed Oct 7 01:47:46 BST 2009

Battle lines for May 2010 election being drawn clearly now along 
similar lines to the late 1930s.
Harman's law will be 'green light to camps for travellers'   [GOOD!  ed.]

Last updated at 12:50 AM on 07th October 2009

Harman's law 'makes a mockery of Gordon Brown's pledge to stand up 
for Middle England'

Gipsies and travellers are to get special favours under planning 
guidelines when Harriet Harman's equality law comes into force, 
ministers admitted yesterday.

They said travellers will receive preferential treatment because of 
the 'many socio-economic disadvantages' they face.

The legislation is likely to raise the chance of travellers winning 
approval for official sites as well as greater tolerance of illegal camps.

But critics attacked the plans last night, saying that it would lead 
to the interests of many homeowners being ignored.

They pointed out that rows over gipsy sites have deepened in recent 
years, with some councils dismissing any objections from local 
residents as racist.

In recent months, traveller children have been given priority in 
queues for local schools and preferential NHS treatment.

The proposal was set out by Michael Foster, a junior minister in Miss 
Harman's Government Equalities Office, in a written answer for MPs.

He said Miss Harman's Equality Bill contains a duty for local 
authorities to address social disadvantage and to help the poor - 
criteria which will also apply to planning decisions.

Government equality reports had 'highlighted the many socioeconomic 
disadvantages suffered by gipsies and travellers and so they are 
likely to benefit from the new duty', he added.

But the decision provoked a furious response from the Tories.

Bob Neill, the party's planning spokesman, said: 'Harriet Harman's 
laws will give a green light for traveller camps to be built on the 
Green Belt, and councils will be forced to give preferential 
treatment to traveller groups.

'By contrast, the interests of home-owners will be systematically ignored.

'This makes a mockery of Gordon Brown's pledge to stand up for Middle 

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