Labour Humanists recognise the desire on the part of the Government to raise standards of service delivery and to make Britain a world leader in welfare provision.
Within this, however, we would warn against the continued drive for religious organisations to take on a greater share of welfare services. Such organisations are currently exempt from sexual orientation equality legislation and are able to discriminate on the grounds of religion or belief. The delivery of welfare services by groups whose primary interest is not the delivery of those services, but rather the promotion of a particular religion, do not accord with the principles of free and fair access to all members of society.
We therefore call upon the Government to ensure these principles will not be compromised. We urge it to ensure our welfare system retains its secular and inclusive character, and take steps as a matter of urgency to remove the rights of religious groupings to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation and religion or belief.
The BHA’s report Quality and Equality: Human Rights, Public Services and Religious Organisations, tackles the issues touched upon above, and is available here: http://tinyurl.com/25w2hb