- 2014 National LGBT Conference
- 29 July 2014
Conference will note the recent report from the National Centre for Social Research, highlighting the austerity measures introduced by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat (ConDem) coalition government. This report showed the cuts have had a disproportionate effect on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Many LGBT workers have found themselves out of work, struggling to pay bills and using food banks in order to eat. Therefore the removal of the ConDem government has to be a priority for LGBT members in the next year.
The Labour Party remains the only viable alternative, however the votes of LGBT members should not be taken for granted. LGBT members in UNISON should set out expectations for the next Labour government. These expectations need to reverse the injustices of the ConDems and set out practical solutions to better the livelihoods of LGBT people.
Conference rejects the austerity narrative that the coalition, aided by the predominantly right-wing media, have peddled since 2010. This narrative blames Labour for the financial crisis, when this was the fault of the banks. Labour have been too quick to accept the blame, and need to shout louder about their achievements in 13 years of government: in particular, more investment and jobs in the public sector than ever before. Conference is concerned about the Labour frontbench’s commitment to the current government’s spending plans, and that the party needs to be clear about what it will do differently if it is not to alienate its natural support base, leading to them not voting and increasing the danger of the Tories winning in 2015.
Conference notes that, whilst the Labour frontbench is committed to these spending plans, it is also committed to a programme of devolved power to regions, and of giving communities a greater say in service provision. Whilst this is to be welcomed in principle, Conference would want to see safeguards put in place so that money is spent where needed on services that benefit LGBT people.
Therefore conference calls upon the national LGBT committee working in conjunction with the national Labour Link committee to:
1. Encourage LGBT members to vote in the 2015 General Election;
2. Work with LGBT Labour to produce and promote joint material encouraging members to vote Labour in the 2015 General Election;
3. Work with LGBT Labour on holding joint campaign sessions for LGBT Labour Parliamentary candidates, provided those candidates show a commitment to UNISON’s values;
4. Encourage LGBT members to join the Labour Party and influence policy-making;
5. Campaign to ensure that LGBT issues are considered in all policies and that the needs of LGBT people are met, particularly around the NHS, social housing and local authority services;
6. Campaign to ensure that devolution of power to cities and regions comes with a commitment to providing vital LGBT services;
7. Campaign for compulsory Personal, Social and Health Education on the national curriculum, including education about LGBT relationships