Cuts represent attack on the LGBT community: Phelim MacCafferty

20 October 2010

In a statement on the Comprehensive Spending Review announcement today, Phelim Mac Cafferty, the chair of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans (LGBT) Greens stated:

"The proposed cuts in today's Comprehensive Spending Review are gravely worrying for the LGBT community.

"Despite the narrative from the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government that ‘we are all in this together' the cutbacks today mark a serious assault on jobs, on the delivery of public services and a massive attack on access to services for the lgbt communities.

"The axing of nearly half a million jobs in the public sector will hit LGBT people disproportionately. It will mean the erosion of dedicated service provision to among many others groups, LGBT people. Public services, meanwhile, will be placed in the hands of private profiteers.

"The Comprehensive Spending Review has not been assessed for the way in which it will disproportionately impact on the LGBT community."

Mac Cafferty outlined the following ways that the CSR will affect the LGBT communities:

* An eye-watering £18 billion cut in welfare spending between now and 2015[1] will hurt those who have lost their jobs through the recession and those unwell on benefits. Along with the dramatic hike in National Insurance, the poorest are unfairly facing the blame. For those on housing benefit, especially given the imposed caps on housing benefit, we can sadly only expect a rise in homelessness, despite the fact that we know already that there are a disproportionate quantity of LGBT homeless. [2]

* The Ministry of Justice cuts of 4% every year, will, in the opinion of Denis O'Connor, the Chief Inspector Constabulary, affect front-line services. Despite a pronounced increase in attacks on the LGBT community in the last year, we need police forces to continue to invest in equality officers whose remit is to tackle, and take preventive action on crimes against LGBT people. The fall from over £9.5 billion to £7 billion over four years will disproportionately affect how crimes against the LGBT communities are understood, detected and treated. It will mean more miscarriages of justice and in the words of Baroness Helena Kennedy, it will mean a suffering justice system[3] when we know the justice system we have is only just beginning to understand the needs of LGBT people.

* Cuts in council spending by over a quarter over 4 years will wreak havoc on the capacity of local authorities to support preventative policies for LGBT safety, while the ending of local authority ring-fenced grants will inevitably see the erosion of funding for the provision of HIV services. Auditor KPMG predicts the spending cuts will "severely test the financial viability of some councils." [4]

* Given the endemic homophobic bullying in education (65% of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people experience homophobic bullying, according to Stonewall[5]), LGBT Greens continue to have deep underlying concerns about what will happen to LGBT youth in education and LGBT educators.

* Cutting of funding to the community and voluntary sector announced partially last week in the ‘Bonfire of the quangos' and in today's CSR have been done without equality impact assessments. LGBT charities receive only 0.05% of all charitable income in the UK[6] despite the economic contributions made by an estimated three million LGBT people and the invaluable work that LGBT charities carry out daily.

Mac Cafferty concluded: "LGBT Greens believe that these savage cuts and this jobs massacre are not inevitable and that essentially they are being driven by ideology not by necessity. We believe the announcement today is part of a larger vision to make the poorest pay the most towards footing the bill for this banker driven crisis." 


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