While we wait for the dust to settle in the new Government (albeit one that was not elected) there is a myriad of issues to focus on that relate to the last few days of the previous Government. Given that both Governments are made up of the same party, the fact is that this Government needs to address the issues which go back some time. Sarah Champion had asked a question which was answered on Monday by Victoria Atkins who is now either working for Priti Patel or not working in the Home Office. However the answer is still relevant and demonstrates a pathetic response to a serious matter. The question was “To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she has taken to implement recommendation 36 (e) of the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women to create educational and employment opportunities for women who wish to exit prostitution.”
The full answer is too long to fit into the blog, but it is worth reading and it includes the following details:
“Since 2016, we have provided over £2m to organisations supporting sex workers, this includes £650,000 through the Violence Against Women and Girls Service Transformation Fund to Merseyside PCC….The Tampon Tax Fund has also been used to provide specialist support to sex workers. Since 2016 we have provided £389,000 of funding which has been awarded to four specialist organisations supporting women to exit prostitution…. In March 2017, £595,917 was also awarded via the Tampon Tax Fund to three organisations working with women involved in prostitution….Additionally, in 2018, Camden Council was awarded £398,000 through the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government fund to support women with chaotic lifestyles, including those involved in prostitution.”
So if we add up the funds listed and assume that the first statement was relating to say £2.5m in total, that would suggest that a total of around about £4m has been supplied from the Government over the last 3 years. Taking into account that there was around £2m unlisted above but that £98,000 was the smallest fund supplied to any project and assuming that every location received only one fund, that at best there has been a total of 28 locations which over the last 3 years have been awarded an average of £48,000 to try to improve the educational and employment prospects for women wanting to depart from prostitution. Given that some large businesses individually spend far more than this sum in a year to provide prostitutes for their clients and senior staff, there is a clear need for the Government which as a political party receives far more than £1.3m each year from such businesses perhaps Priti Patel and her new colleagues can step up this provision in a meaningful way.