This week 30 years ago: Islington Council attacked for taking in traveller families

Islington Gazette: July 24, 1987

Islington Gazette: July 24, 1987 - Credit: Archant

Islington Council’s Social Democrat opposition attacked Labour after it emerged the town hall had been taking in traveller families in the winter.

Traveller families were being sheltered in council-owned accommodation and bed and breakfasts, at a cost of up to £300 a week to ratepayers (£774 in today’s terms).

The policy was revealed after the Labour-run council sent a letter to the government asking for permission to spend more on housing.

Islington Social Democrat leader Cllr David Hyam said: “It’s the last straw. At this very moment hundreds of Islington families are living next door to traveller encampments. Now they find their council, with 10,000 applicants on its housing waiting list, is putting gypsies up the winter at the ratepayers’ expense.”

Labour housing leader Maurice Barnes said: “Legally, we have to take them into some form of accommodation if they inform us they are homeless. David Hyams is a law-abiding person. He ought to learn what the law of the land is.”