Welsh Communities Minister Jeff Cuthbert says championing gay equality is all the more important at a time of austerity.

Speaking at the Stonewall Cymru Workplace Conference 2013, the Labour Assembly Member for Caerphilly said: “Equality in the workplace provides employees with a supportive environment where they are able to thrive and give their best.

“Stonewall’s research has confirmed this and shown that LGB people that feel able to be open about their sexual orientation at work are more productive, creative and loyal.

“During times of austerity, this becomes all the more important. Organisations rely on their employees to give their best to deliver for the people of Wales.”

In August, a survey by Stonewall found that one in five gay employees have experienced verbal bullying from colleagues, customers or service users in the past five years. A quarter said they were “not at all open” to colleagues about their sexual orientation.

Mr Cuthbert also outlined the Welsh Government’s commitment to equality and said: “The Welsh Government places equality and inclusion at the heart of all it does to deliver real impact for people in Wales.

“For example, at the first stage of our decision making we carry out an Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) to assess the impact of our significant decisions on people with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.

“This becomes all the more critical given our current economic restraints. We need to ensure that our resources are used to deliver the best outcomes for people in Wales.

“The Welsh Government’s Draft Budget is announced later today, and an EIA of our spending decisions will be published alongside it. This shows how considerations of equality, poverty, sustainable development, Welsh language and the Rights of the Child have helped to shape and influence our spending decisions for 2014-15. I believe that this illustrates the progressive work that the Welsh Government is delivering to benefit everyone in Wales.”

Last month, Welsh Labour Assembly Member Rebecca Evans asked the Welsh Government to ensure that victims of domestic violence in same-sex relationships are not disadvantaged when it comes to accessing services and support in the nation.