In The Press

LGBT community “Living on the edge” in Manchester


Manchester is the city where LGBT community members are most likely to be worrying about a range of money, health and prejudice issues – according to new research out today from Emerald Life.

While Manchester Pride on 26-29 August gives the city an opportunity to celebrate the major progress made on equality and diversity issues, the new research suggests that for many in the LGBT community, everyday life is clouded by long-term worries on a number of issues.  This is particularly the case in Manchester, LGBT capital of the north.

The new nationwide poll compared and contrasted LGBT community outlook in six cities – London, Manchester, Birmingham, Brighton, Cardiff and Edinburgh – and the findings revealed that LGBT community members in Manchester were those most likely to have one or more lifestyle concerns for the second half of the year (84% compared to a national average of 74%).

Specific concerns:

  • Money worries: Manchester was the city where the LGBT community was the most likely to worry about debt and a decline in disposable income – 46% compared to a national average of 31%. In contrast, only 27% of community members in London rated these issues as a top worry for the second half of the year.
  • Health time bomb: The LGBT community in Manchester was also most likely to worry about health issues (36%). The NHS’s most recent response in its court action in relation to the issuing of PrEP as an HIV-preventative, a response which incorrectly singled out gay men as the only high-risk group that would receive the drug, shows the prejudice on health issues, intended or not, that many LGBT community members worry about.
  • Hate crime and prejudice: Manchester LGBT community fears of being a victim of hate crime or physical intimidation because of their sexual orientation were above the national average for the LGBT community (26% compared to 20%). The recent Eastenders hate crime storyline about Ben Mitchell comes at a time when the LGBT community’s fear of hate crime has soared. Emerald’s data suggests these fears are most acute in Birmingham (28%) and Manchester (26%), not London (17%).  Nationally, the proportion of LGBT community members worried about being a victim of hate crime or physical intimidation has doubled in the last year (from 10% to 20%). In addition to hate crime, Emerald’s new LGBT community research in Manchester also noted a significant rise in worries over other forms of prejudice. Concerns about intended prejudice concerned one in five community members in Manchester (20%) and 22% of respondents also expressed concern about being subject to unintended prejudice because of their sexual orientation
  • Job security: Perhaps linked to money worries in the city, Manchester was also the city where LGBT community fears on job security were most prevalent (28% compared to a national average of 19%) and Manchester was second only to Cardiff for community concerns on workplace discrimination because of sexual orientation (8% and 11% respectively).

Steve Wardlaw, Chairman of Emerald Life commented: “Whilst the Manchester Pride event will be a time to celebrate, we should also take a step back and consider the community’s position.  Our research underlines the real and everyday concerns that members of our community still face. For the entire UK population, the economic uncertainty we live with plays out on worries about money and job security. The LGBT community, however, has a second set of worries to tackle, worries that directly relate to their sexuality.

“The issue of increasing prejudice is a concern which is also prevalent in the insurance industry, where the LGBT community doesn’t enjoy a true equality of experience, where few can access products designed with them in mind – and where too many people live without insurance because of this. We are working hard to tackle this and are trying to drive change on out-dated thinking.”

Heidi McCormack, CEO of Emerald Life added: “Our research also shows clearly that the LGBT community is not one generic group. By age, wealth and also geography there are wide variations in the hopes and fears of community members. That is one reason why we are investing time visiting community members in cities around the UK. It gives us a chance to listen, to react and to help – that’s the Emerald way, the way we get closer to – and do more – for our community.”

LGBT Community’s top concerns for the next six months: The local picture

Debt/ decline income30%27%40%30%27%46%
Losing job17%16%23%16%19%28%
Poor work-life balance33%35%30%32%27%28%
Poor health28%33%32%34%27%36%
Unintended prejudice28%20%26%26%23%22%
Intended prejudice 28%14%23%20%20%20%
Hate crime28%18%23%22%17%26%

For more information or to arrange interviews contact:

James Wharton


Leadership team biographies, further market research, high-resolution images and a library of case studies are available on request.

Notes to editors: About Emerald Life

Emerald Life is the UK’s first full-service insurance provider designed and tailored for the gay and lesbian community. It launched in the UK in March 2016, responding to the almost eight in 10 members of the LGBT community (79%) that said they would change the way insurance companies treated them.

With 2.2 million LGBT adults over the age of 30 potentially buying insurance products in the UK today, Emerald Life has designed an offer that puts them first – insurance for the now. This is based on three areas of concern for the community.

  1. Customer experience For its customers, Emerald is a place where there are no automatic assumptions as to one’s gender or that of a partner, no judgements and no awkward silences on a call. From the real people and stories in Emerald’s ad campaigns, to its expertly trained customer service staff, Emerald has the community at the heart of everything it does.
  2. Product design

Emerald’s focus is to create products that work for the community – real solutions for real people in real situations. For example:

  • Emerald’s home insurance is the first to provide legal expenses cover for service provider discrimination based on a customer’s sexuality;
  • HIV+ is not automatically excluded from medical cover in Emerald’s travel or wedding insurance;
  • Emerald’s wedding insurance covers legal expenses in cases of discriminatory treatment by service providers. None of the top providers for wedding insurance include this in their policies, even in light of recent high-profile cases in the media.

As the first step in its journey to provide a wide range of financial, legal and lifestyle services, Emerald Life has launched its first insurance products – home, term life, wedding, travel and pet.

3. Supporting community schemes

Emerald Life invests time and resources to actively support a range of LGBT community-based initiatives. Emerald supports The Albert Kennedy Trust with a rolling internship programme, helping young homeless people from the community with mentoring and work experience. Emerald Chairman Steve Wardlaw is an active Stonewall Ambassador – and the Emerald Team also work with Diversity Role Models, P3 and the Human Dignity Trust.

For full details on Emerald’s products visit today.

The research was conducted by YouGov between 6-7 July 2016 among a representative sample of 512 LGBT community members, including samples from London, Brighton, Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff and Edinburgh.