A MAJOR research project is being launched at the University of Stirling to examine the experiences of LGBT+ people when accessing the benefits system.

Led by social policy expert Dr Peter Matthews and supported by a £236,000 Nuffield Foundation grant, the study aims to provide important insights to improve the effectiveness of welfare support for minority groups.

The research team is to investigate how people who identify as LGBT+ fared through recent periods of welfare austerity, including during the Covid-19 pandemic, and identify any barriers faced in accessing state welfare.

Dr Matthews said: "Our analysis will produce the world's first, in-depth study into LGBT+ people and welfare outcomes in an advanced economy.

"Welfare provision in the UK has always been designed around the heterosexual nuclear family.

"In the past it has faced criticism for making sexist, racist and ableist assumptions.

"However, issues of sexuality and gender diversity have not been investigated.

"This is despite evidence that some LGBT+ people have lower incomes over their life course, higher rates of homelessness and are more likely to suffer from mental health issues.

"LGBT+ people can also lack traditional sources of support or welfare 'buffers' such as family wealth and housing assets.

"For example, lesbians and gay men struggled to get mortgage finance in the UK for decades. Many LGBT+ people find themselves homeless after coming-out."

The study, which will last 18 months, is being supported by Professor Paul Lambert and Dr Camilla Barnett of the University of Stirling, Dr Lee Gregory of the University of Nottingham, Dr Samuel Mann from Vanderbilt University and Sheffield Hallam University's Dr Eleanor Formby.