Colchester Labour respond to #Vote4Equality questions

colchester labour partyIf elected would we do an equality impact assessment on all local budget cuts on women?

First and foremost I would say that we would not be looking at making cuts that impacted directly on any one group so the idea that we would be making local budget cuts to women directly is difficult to imagine. However if put in a situation where we had no option but to make cuts to any service, an EIA would always be undertaken.

If elected will you defend specialist women only services eg rape crisis centres and women’s refuges?
Absolutely – do we need to say more? Cuts to specialist services such as these need to be avoided at all costs. We will continue to work with the PCC in order to keep VAWG at the top of crime agenda.

If elected how will you improve representation of women on your council?
As a group we are aware that women can often be put off politics and that we do not have the proportionate representation in local politics. We have made a commitment to engaging people in politics at a much earlier age and that would include working with girls and encouraging them to think of politics as something they should/ could/would want to be involved in. We will work with our Equalities Officer and local women’s groups to identify ways in which we can make councils more inclusive.

If elected what will you do to re-open Sure Start centre that have closed and defend the one’s that already exist.
Sure Start Centres are funded by the Conservative run County Council and we are acutely aware that Essex County Council is looking to make budget savings of 2.5 million pounds in this area. We will continue to influence any decisions where at all possible and will campaign with families when fighting to keep services open. Fundamentally however we feel that these services will only be saved with a change of national administration.

If elected how will you ensure that women benefit from strategic/enterprise/partnership funding?
The Labour group acknowledges that women are the more likely to be users of public services and as such the current cuts are disproportionately effecting women (and in turn families) We are committed to defending public services and to working with unions and other organisations who also believe in the public sector.

If elected will you undertake a gender pay audit in your local council?
Yes, we agree that this would be a positive move.

If elected how will you improve your councils engagement with local women and women’s organisations.
We will work with our Equality Officer to look all possible ways of maximising engagement, we will work with local unions and their Women’s Officers, we will access appropriate training in order to our knowledge around these issues. We will engage with local women’s organisations to seek representation in all areas that effect women.

What will you do to tackle sexism and sex discrimination in your council.
We will acknowledge that it exists!
We have robust policies which seek to minimise any opportunities for such behaviour. We will also ensure that our policies do not disadvantage women
We will take all such accusations seriously .
We feel that sexism is far less likely to take place in a workplace where women are properly represented throughout the workforce and in positions of power so we would seek to get rid of any imbalances that exist in his area.

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