§ 15. Mr. Dodds
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what progress has been made in the efforts to find a satisfactory solution of the gipsy problem in Kent; and when it is proposed to commence taking a survey of the number of gipsies in the rest of the country, with a view to dealing with this minority problem in a fitting manner.
§ Mr. H. Macmillan
I would refer the hon. Member to my letter of 11th February, 1953, to Kent County Council, of which he has already had a copy. The Erith Council has now started to provide accommodation on another site for gipsies and other camp dwellers threatened with displacement from Erith Marshes, and my Department will shortly be discussing with the local authorities concerned what can be done to deal with a similar problem in the Chislehurst area. I am advised that there are no other areas in Kent in which there is an immediate problem of displacement affecting gipsies. I do not think there is any necessity to make a survey of the problem in the rest of the country.
§ Mr. Macmillan
I am advised that it is not necessary to make this survey. I trust that the problem in Kent will be solved satisfactorily. If there is need for a survey in any particular county I will consider it, but I do not think that I should ask local authorities over the whole of England and Wales to do that.
§ Sir W. Smithers
Will my right hon. Friend see to it that the ancient customs and rights of these gipsies are not unduly interfered with, as they are a grand lot of people?