Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006

News Shorts & Other Busyness

Doleful Harassment

Squall 5, Oct/Nov 1993, pg. 24.

In Issue 24/93 of the Income Support Bulletin, published by the Government’s Benefits Agency, DSS Offices around the country have been directed to single out ‘New Age Travellers” as a group that should be “scrutinised carefully”. The document, marked “not for the public domain”, tells benefit officers to make sure that “New Age Travellers” are “available for work” and “actively seeking work”.

This is no different to what unemployed claimants face all around the country. What is different is that Travellers have been singled out for special attention. Travellers now have a special identity number at benefit offices and there have been a number of reported incidents of collaboration between the police and benefit offices, in order to co-ordinate harassment.

In October of this year rule changes are planned that will require one address to be given by Travellers, which they then have to sign on from every two weeks. The obvious hidden agenda is the disincentive that will arise against travelling, if you have to scale the length of Britain in order to sign on every two weeks and then again to pick up the giro.