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Last Updated: Monday, 10 January, 2005, 11:06 GMT
Council praised for 'gay' policy
Performers at Manchester Pride
Manchester hosts an annual gay pride event
Manchester City Council has been praised for its attitude towards gay and lesbian members of staff.

The council came in joint second place in a list of the top 100 employers and their anti-discrimination policies, compiled by rights group Stonewall.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service was listed among the top rated emergency services for homosexuals to work for.

The survey took into account whether staff had gay groups and whether any board members were openly homosexual.

This accolade is richly deserved
Manchester City Council
A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue said he was confident they have the right sort of policies in place.

"It is a very positive result and it is surely good to have that sort of accolade," he said.

"It sends out the right message in terms of gender, race and sexual orientation.

"Traditionally the emergency services are thought to be a white male dominated profession, and it is something most services want to get away from."

Manchester City Council's lead member on lesbian issues, Cllr Mary Murphy, said: "I am delighted that the Council has been recognised as an excellent employer of lesbians and gay men.

'Good business'

"This accolade is richly deserved.

"Manchester is proud to lead the way among local authorities when it comes to equality issues affecting lesbian and gay employees and other minority groups."

Jacqui Smith MP, Minister for Women and Equality, said "I hope to see many more organisations acknowledging that equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people is common sense and good business.

Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, said: "It's vital that expert monitoring of employers' good practice on equality issues continues to take place."

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