The voice of LGBT members of the PCS Union

Cuts at the Equality Human Rights Commission

The Equality and Human Rights Commission, an organisation derided by some as the enforcer of political correctness in the UK. In truth a vital organisation which helps to hold the UK Government to account on issues surrounding equality and human rights and helps other work to improve the lives of citizens across the UK.

And it is currently under attack. Already it’s seen its budget slashed from £70m to £22m since 2010 with further cuts of 25% announced and redundancies on the way. We’re told it’s necessary under the auspices of austerity, the ideological approach of the current Tory Government which has impacted immensely on many of the UK’s minority communities. Could there be a connection one wonders?

And why should the LGBT community care? Well here’s two recent examples of their work to support LGBT equality that could disappear if the department is stripped to the bare bones by the Government.

In 2008 a gay couple were looking to book a hotel in Cornwall for some time away. At that time the couple had had a civil partnership, same sex marriage still a few years away. However they found themselves blocked from staying in the hotel they had chosen based on their sexual orientation.

The EHRC supported the couple in pursuing a discrimination claim which resulted in a successful outcome for the couple in 2013, sending a clear message that discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation is not permitted when providing goods and services in the UK.

More recently the EHRC has provided funding to the LGBT Consortium in England and Wales, as well as the Equality Network and LGBT Youth Scotland north of the border. To what end? To tackle LGBT hate crime and to improve reporting across the UK, in particular in rural communities where many in our community remain more isolated from the mainstream LGBT hubs that exist in larger city locations.

To allow these cuts in the EHRC to go ahead puts this, and all of their other, good work at risk and could lead to increases in discrimination against LGBT people with the lack of funding and resource at the EHRC coupled with tribunal fees and the removal of legal aid blocking those struggling financially from being able to pursue justice for themselves and others.

We all have to stand together and call for an end to these damaging cuts. Visit the PCS website to email your MP and call on their support for the campaign. You can do this by clicking here http://www.bit.ly/29JZaoc

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