The City of London Corporation was in the news this week following a decision by the policy and resources committee over turn a decision to downgrade LGBT funding applications, which prompted a backlash from councillors. As a member of the Policy Committee I was able to strongly argue in favour of allocating funding for two LGBT events at Guildhall.
CityAM reported that the City Corporation’s hospitality and working party, which grants funding for events and reports into policy and resources committee, faced accusations of homophobia after it turned down funding requests made last year and at the start of this year for LGBT-related events.
The working party rejected a funding application for an occasion to mark the transfer of a collection of video interviews about the 1980s Aids epidemic to the London Metropolitan Archives, which is hosted in the City, as well as an early evening reception to celebrate the raising of the Pride flag at Guildhall in July.
The Corporation’s policy and resources committee yesterday overrode its sub-committee and agreed in principle funding for an external facing event on both occasions. I together with other councillors strongly argued in favour and I welcome this decision. It was the right thing to do.
One of the arguments given was that we shouldn’t support an event for one group. I completely agree, and in fact the Corporation for example supports an annual Eid dinner and an annual event on international women’s day. But the argument shouldn’t be about doing less, but about doing more of these events reaching out to different groups and communities.
One of the Corporation’s objectives is to “promote and champion diversity, inclusion and the removal of institutional barriers and structural inequalities”. Both our actions and our words matter if we are truly committed to making a difference.
When I was elected I promised to stand up for a diverse and inclusive City and I was pleased that I was in a position to work with fellow councillors this week to deliver on this promise.