CELEBRATIONS of Roma culture should be funded to foster integration and celebrate diversity in Glasgow, according to an MSP.

Labour's Anne McTaggart has called on the Scottish Government to help fund events such as those which took place for International Romani Day.

City MSP Ms McTaggart took part in events, such as street activities and a parade in Govanhill, last month.

Many Roma people have settled in Govanhill in recent years adding to the diversity of the area and raising concerns about housing conditions.

The MSP has lodged motions in the Scottish Parliament and asked questions on what help could be given to ensure events can take place regularly.

Ms McTaggart said: "Over 300 Roma people and supporters took part in a march from Govanhill Park to Albert Road and many more attended an evening function, which featured traditional Roma food and music.

"I believe that efforts to support the inclusion of Roma people in our communities should be a priority for the Scottish Government.

"The Roma community in Glasgow is disproportionately affected by poverty and too often Roma people suffer discrimination in employment, education and housing."

She said that the rights of Roma people needed to be protected and prejudicial views on the people and their culture challenged.

A greater understanding of the people and their traditions could help build community relations with the rest of the local population, she said.

Ms McTaggart added: "We must build relationships between different ethnic groups in Glasgow and break down the stereotypes that exist around the Roma community.

"As part of this, I believe that events to celebrate Roma culture and heritage should receive appropriate financial assistance."

Ms McTaggart's recent motion on Romani Day was backed by 24 Labour, SNP, LibDem and Green MSPs, including seven city members.