Westminster spa ends discrimination against gays

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A politics blog has successfully pressured a Westminster City Council spa into giving gay and lesbian couples the same discount as heterosexuals.

The Porchester Spa, run by the council, was charging same-sex couples £40.70 for the use of steam rooms and baths instead of the £28.25 straight couples paid.

Recess Monkey, a left-leaning political blog, said today that a journalist had informed them that this “gay tax” has been abolished:

“This and the fair trade bananas in Parliament campaign are I think the only two notable achievements of this website.

“I don’t think I can take credit for getting (Labour MP) Kali Mountford to change her hairstyle.”

The Evening Standard reports that a council spokesperson has confirmed that gay and lesbian couples will now get the lower rate.

In May the Tory leader of Westminster, Sir Simon Milton, publicly came out and announced he is to enter into a civil partnership.

In August the City of Westminster council announced new measures to ensure members of the LGBT community in the London borough are properly catered for.

The council is undertaking a period of consultation including priorities for action, identified by the communities themselves.

As part of this initiative, the council has also joined the Stonewall Diversity Champions Programme, which is designed to focus employers’ attention on the recruitment and retention of gay and lesbian staff.

The Council also formally adopted the Soho Action Plan in June this year.

The Plan aims to re-vamp London’s Soho district, in particular by supporting the 10% of the district’s residents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

The council budgeted £17,500 to investigate LGBT community facilities as a focus for community action, health and social care, social enterprise, exhibition space and research and to look into providing a London-wide LGBT centre in Soho.

The Council is committed to achieving Level 4 of the Equality Standard for Local Government by October 2008.

The Equality Standard is a framework or tool, which enables local authorities to mainstream equality into service delivery and employment.

Level 4 is concerned with the implementation of Information systems and monitoring against targets.