Sunday, 07 February 2016

Stonewall names ex-housing boss as gay champion

A housing association chief executive who left his post suddenly at the end of last year has been named as Stonewall’s individual champion of the year.

Bill Payne, the former chief executive of Metropolitan Housing Group, won individual champion of the year at the gay, lesbian and bisexual equality charity’s awards ceremony last night.

Mr Payne said the award was a ‘phenomenally wonderful honour’ and that prejudice against gay employees is ‘shameful in a world where people should be treated with dignity’.

He said: ‘If housing associations can’t embody the moral and business imperative for hiring gay staff then heaven’s above knows who will.’

Five housing associations made Stonewall’s list of the top 100 employers published on Wednesday.

Metropolitan Housing Group was rated the most welcoming to gay staff in the housing sector and placed fifth overall.

A spokesperson for Stonewall said it was the first time they had included the category of individual champion, and had awarded it to Mr Payne based on the evidence submitted by staff at the surveyed companies.

He said: ‘It’s because he has been so influential in driving forward change and inclusion and it was really noticeable.’

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