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Implications of reductions to public spending on LGB & T people & services

Male couple, one more in focus
Published: November 2016

Aim 

The study gives insights into whether, and in what ways, reductions in public spending have affected services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB & T) people.  

NatCen conducted the same research in 2013 looking at the early effects of the cuts, which began in 2010.

Findings  

The key finding of this study was that fears about the effects of public funding cuts reported in 2013 were seen as a reality for some LGB & T service users and service providers by 2016.

Nature of the cuts

  • Reductions in public spending had resulted in reduced access to some mainstream services (e.g. GPs, mental health and sexual health) when LGB & T people had needed them.  

Effects of cuts on LGB & T people as service users    

  • LGB & T service users and providers thought that cuts in public spending had a disproportionate effect on the LGB & T population compared to other groups.  
  • LGB & T people reported a number of ways in which they thought cuts in public spending had affected them personally and/or as a social group. This was via financial hardships; limited identity and support needs; feeling marginalised and invisible; and a sense that there has been reversal of gains for LGB & T people and increased in vulnerability.                                        

Effects of cuts on services and staff  

  • Sustained funding reductions left some LGB & T services focusing on survival, rather than delivering a high quality comprehensive service.   
  • Service providers described an ongoing loss of experienced and knowledgeable staff on LGB & T issues through redundancies.  
  • LGB & T services and roles were reported as being less of a priority and as having received less focus over time.  
  • Service providers and volunteers reported high workloads and stress due to balancing greater demand for services with less resource (both funding and staff). 

Methods 

The research used two qualitative data collection methods.

  • A secure online platform which was used to collate written submissions
  • Qualitative follow-up interviews with a selection of participants

In total 183 individuals took part in the research, of which:

  • 176 made written submissions using a secure online platform. Of these, 11 also took part in a follow-up interview;
  • Seven took part in an interview only.