MILLIONS of pounds spent by councils on legal action to remove travellers would be better used to provide them with sites to live on, John Prescott said.
The Deputy Prime Minister faced calls in the Commons to provide central help to ease the burden of evictions on local taxpayers.
Kirklees Council has taken legal action to evict travellers from Leeds Road, Huddersfield, and Newsome in the last two months.
Mr Prescott said progress was being made on easing the situation, which needed to be dealt with "in a reasonable and open way".
But he added: "If so much money is prepared to be spent on legal expenses removing the gypsies, it's a pity a fraction of that money isn't provided for providing land and lessen the problem."
The issue had been raised by Tory MP John Baron, who said Basildon Council faced an extra £2m bill to remove an illegal encampment because of a two-year delay demanded by the Government.
That represented about 15% of a year's council tax, he said.
Mr Prescott said: "This is a very difficult problem in certain areas.
"Many of the gypsies either go on to unauthorised sites or buy the land. In those cases it makes it difficult to deal with."