- Boris Johnson has just given £16.5billion to defense but has quietly cut £4million to protect LGBT+ kids.
The UK’s Conservative government has quietly cut £4million of crucial funding to LGBT+ anti-bullying programs.
The news emerged today just as Boris Johnson agreed to give £16.5billion to defense – far more than military chiefs expected.
The LGBT+ funding cut, which withdraws funding from English schools, comes despite a government pledge to continue to invest in tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.
Ministers admit LGBT+ kids face particularly high levels of bullying – often causing long-term harm.
Indeed, only this week the Department for Education wrote on Twitter: ‘No child should have to experience bullying, in or out of school.’
Meanwhile, a new survey by LGBT+ charity Diversity Role Models indicates that just 27% of secondary school students think their school would be safe for LGBT+ classmates to ‘come out’.
Moreover, half of LGBT+ students in England do not feel safe to be themselves at school.
The Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic Challenge Fund was supposed to tackle this problem.
Nicky Morgan, then the minister for women and equalities, launched it in 2014. It provided training and workshops for staff and students to combat anti-LGBT+ bullying.
But now the BBC has discovered that Johnson’s government quietly axed the funding in March this year.
Guns or butter
Educators had expected the funding to continue, as it had in every year until now.
But the Government Equalities Office said: ‘The anti-bullying grant fund, which provided 2,250 schools across the country with materials and training, was always due to end in March 2020.’
Nancy Kelley, chief executive of LGBT+ organization Stonewall, told the BBC that the cut would mean students will ‘suffer in silence’.
By coincidence, the news of the cut has come as the UK marks Anti-Bullying Week.
Meanwhile, today Johnson also announced the £16.5billion spending settlement on defense.
The Prime Minister said the reason was that ‘the defence of the realm must come first’.
However, many will view it as an attempt for Britain to find international relevance as it completes its Brexit departure from the EU at the end of this year and simultaneously faces a US led by Joe Biden rather than Donald Trump.
Moreover, there are hints the Conservatives want to partly pay for the defense increase by slashing funding on foreign aid.
And former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has warned Johnson that will mean the UK breaking its promises to the world. He told Sky News the decision could ‘destroy our reputation across the world’.