Defending LGBT Public Services and Jobs

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Conference
2012 National LGBT Conference
Date
25 July 2012
Decision

Conference deplores the Tory-led government’s brutal and unnecessary cuts on public services many of which have had a particular impact on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and young people. Conference further deplores the increased age threshold to 35 for full housing benefit entitlement.

Cuts to public sector funding have had a knock on effect of decimating services already outsourced such as those delivered by domestic abuse workers, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) prevention workers, LGBT Youth Workers, while mainstream council services which LGBT members 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, forcing LGBT community organisations delivering vital services to either stagger on with volunteers, or disappear.

NHS trusts across the country have become more of a post code lottery for a range of treatments such as In Vitro Fertilisation and many are taking steps to scale back and reduce access to whole swathes of vital healthcare including HIV, safer sex services, gender reassignment surgery, mental health and addiction services. A worrying trend as in a recent UNISON survey 1/3 of all LGBT people suffer from mental health problems.

Cuts to police and justice services have reduced their ability to deal with hate crime and domestic abuse. The wholesale attempt to privatise education through free schools and academies and through developing a market in higher education will make it more likely that homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in education will go unchallenged.

The changes to housing benefits disproportionately affects many young LGBT people who are kicked out of their homes and then forced to live in accommodation where they do not feel safe, because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and where they do not have access to support services.

Conference bemoans the lack of awareness of the impact this concerted assault on public services is having on the LGBT community. This government has systematically eroded vital services and has unleashed an unprecedented attack on our jobs.

Conference recognises to save jobs and public services we need to focus on building the strength of public opinion. We must emphasise, advertise and illustrate the message that these cuts are unnecessary and we are not all in this together.

Conference instructs the National LGBT Committee to:

1) Develop a comprehensive, proactive communications strategy, including targeted leaflets, publicising the impact of the attack on public services on LGBT people with specific reference to LGBT young people;

2) Work with appropriate structures in UNISON to ensure they highlight cuts to LGBT services and campaign for properly funded LGBT services.;

3) Encourage Regions to use Pride events and diversity festivals to promote the Million Voices campaign and educate the public about the value of public services including specific services targeted at people who identify as LGBT;

4) Encourage Regional Groups to work more closely with the other Self Organised Groups and community groups in supporting each other to raise awareness about UNISON’s campaigns at events.