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Many useful roles
7:50am Thursday 14th June 2012 in Letters
Sir – J. Williams’ letter (Unavoidable choices, June 7), asks for more clarity on the roles that gypsies and travellers perform within our society, which relate to their need to travel from place to place, where their services are required.
Their work in any single area may be completed over a relatively short time-span when they then move on. Examples include:
- Collecting disused machinery and electrical goods, such as washing machines and boilers, extracting and recycling the valuable metals they contain and selling the extracted material back to the manufacturing industry
- Providing seasonal workers to the horticultural and agricultural industries (such as picking and packing strawberries or asparagus), as well as buying the produce from the growers and selling it in markets to the public
- Contributing to the workforce relating to the construction industry, which would include road-building and road-repairing. Many have been involved in major works such as motorways and the Channel Tunnel
- Running businesses such as industrial carpet-fitting
- Breeding, buying and selling horses, often by attending horse fairs.
Gypsies and travellers also pay their share of council tax, income tax, and road tax. They pay rent and council tax when they stay on any authorised site. They each have a national insurance number and tax code and are required to declare their annual taxable income and pay whatever tax is due to Inland Revenue, when required.
Any vehicle they may drive on public roads must be insured and road taxed. Information on the role and needs of gypsies and travellers may be obtained by visiting the website: www.gypsy-traveller.org, or by contacting: Friends, Family and Travellers, Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 3XG, tel. 01273 234 777, email: firstname.lastname@example.org Rodney Stableford, Oxford