Building the Public’s Support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Public Services

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2011 National LGBT Conference
23 September 2011

Conference deplores the visible detrimental impact the Tory-led government’s brutal and unnecessary cuts have had on public services, including services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

These ideologically driven cuts to public sector funding have seen targeted services such as those delivered by HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) prevention workers, LGBT youth workers and equalities officers lost, while mainstream council services which LGBT people rely on, like social care and libraries, have been severely affected. Council and National Health Service (NHS) contributions to voluntary sector organisations have been reduced, with LGBT community organisations delivering vital services among the first to feel the threat of closure.

The Tories’ promise to protect the NHS has turned out to be hollow, while cuts to police and justice services hamper their ability to deal with hate crime. The wholesale attempt to privatise education through free schools and academies and through developing a market in higher education make it more likely that homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in education will go unchallenged.

Conference also notes that our pensions are under fire and our terms and conditions such as pay, allowances and sick leave are being chipped away. Conference believes that the attack on pensions and terms and conditions is a first step towards selling off public services and ensuring even greater profits for private sector providers.

Conference acknowledges the lack of awareness both amongst the broader public and within the LGBT community of the impact this concerted assault on public services is having on LGBT people. When times are hard, LGBT people need public services more than ever, for example, appropriate youth and housing services for young LGBT people and care services for older LGBT people. Decent services change lives – and in some cases, save lives.

Conference recognises that to save jobs and public services, including those targeted at LGBT people, we need to continually focus on building the strength of public opinion behind us. We must push home the core UNISON messages that these cuts are unnecessary and we are not all in this together.

Conference calls on the National Executive Council, working with the LGBT self organised group, to:

1.Maintain the high profile of UNISON’s commitment to LGBT equality in all our negotiating, organising and campaigning work and continue to defend the vital importance of public services that meet the needs of all;

2. Ensure UNISON’s anti-cuts strategy publicises the impact of the attack on public services on LGBT people and consider developing targeted campaign materials;

3.Work with appropriate LGBT national community and voluntary organisations fighting the cuts;

4.Continue to work with Labour Link, seeking to ensure they highlight the impact of cuts on LGBT people and that they work within the Labour Party towards ensuring properly funded LGBT services are central to the manifesto commitments of the future Labour government