Elizabeth Truss debates with Cabinet Office

There have been 4 exchanges between Elizabeth Truss and Cabinet Office

Wed 22nd July 2020 Oral Answers to Questions 25 interactions (539 words)
Wed 17th June 2020 Oral Answers to Questions 39 interactions (804 words)
Wed 6th May 2020 Oral Answers to Questions 21 interactions (566 words)
Wed 11th March 2020 Oral Answers to Questions 21 interactions (450 words)

Oral Answers to Questions

Elizabeth Truss Excerpts
Wednesday 22nd July 2020

(1 month, 4 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Cabinet Office
Nadia Whittome Portrait Nadia Whittome (Nottingham East) (Lab) - Hansard

What steps the Government are taking to tackle discrimination against transgender people. [905150]

Elizabeth Truss Portrait The Minister for Women and Equalities (Elizabeth Truss) - Hansard

We are committed to tackling discrimination against transgender people. We have invested £4 million for schools to tackle anti-LGBT bullying, and we have addressed homophobic hate crime in the hate crime action plan.

Nadia Whittome Portrait Nadia Whittome - Hansard

Successive Conservative Equalities Ministers have repeatedly stalled on publishing the results of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 consultation. Leaked reports of a potential roll-back on trans rights have understandably caused alarm. With hate crimes against trans people up nearly 40% on last year, does the Secretary of State agree that her quibbling on this issue is fanning the flames of populist hate towards an already marginalised group?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard

As the Prime Minister said, we will respond to the consultation over the summer. Let me be absolutely clear: we will not be rolling back the rights of transgender people. It is important that transgender people are able to live their lives as they wish, without fear, and we will make sure that that is the case.

Marsha De Cordova Portrait Marsha De Cordova (Battersea) (Lab) [V] - Hansard

In July 2018, the Government announced that they were seeking views on how best to reform the Gender Recognition Act 2004 in a consultation that closed in October 2018. Nearly two years later, the Government have still not published their response. Trans rights are human rights, and updating the GRA will help to improve the lives of trans people. Today the House will rise, and the Minister has previously stated that the Government would publish their response. When will she finally publish the Government’s response and their plans for reform?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard

As I said, we will respond to the consultation over the summer—the Prime Minister committed to that earlier this week—and I assure the hon. Lady that I am very keen to get on with that response.

Sarah Owen Portrait Sarah Owen (Luton North) (Lab) - Hansard

What steps the Government are taking to tackle the level of reported hate crime against south and east Asian communities during the covid-19 pandemic. [905151]

Break in Debate

James Grundy Portrait James Grundy (Leigh) (Con) - Hansard

What plans she has for the Equality Hub to tackle geographical and socio-economic inequality. [905160]

Elizabeth Truss Portrait The Minister for Women and Equalities (Elizabeth Truss) - Parliament Live - Hansard

The Prime Minister has set out his vision to level up and spread opportunity across the country, and the Equality Hub will play an important part in realising that vision by rigorously analysing where the real inequality in Britain is today. It will focus in particular on areas such as geography and social background.

Jerome Mayhew Portrait Jerome Mayhew - Parliament Live - Hansard

Rural poverty is easy to overlook in picturesque areas that other people associate with holidays and a slower pace of life, but it is every bit as hard and destructive for those affected. Can my right hon. Friend advise the House on what action the Government are taking to address rural deprivation?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Parliament Live - Hansard

My hon. Friend makes a good point. We want everybody across the country to benefit from our levelling-up agenda of investing more in transport infrastructure and dealing with educational inequality. We recognise that deprived rural areas can face additional barriers to opportunity. The Equality Hub will analyse the data and look at where that inequality of opportunity is, so that Departments can take measures to address them.

James Grundy Portrait James Grundy - Parliament Live - Hansard

How might northern constituencies, such as my constituency of Leigh, which according to some measures is in the top 20% most deprived constituencies in the country, benefit from the plans my right hon. Friend mentioned earlier?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Parliament Live - Hansard

We want to make sure that no part of our country feels forgotten about, particularly towns and cities in the north and the midlands, such as my hon. Friend’s constituency. I can assure him that we will do everything we can to look at the roots of that geographical inequality and to make sure his constituents have the best opportunities in life.

Naz Shah Portrait Naz Shah (Bradford West) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard

What discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on steps that the Race Disparity Unit is taking to help tackle racial injustices in society. [905158]

Break in Debate

Dr Luke Evans Portrait Dr Luke Evans (Bosworth) (Con) - Hansard

If she will make a statement on her departmental responsibilities. [R] [905190]

Elizabeth Truss Portrait The Minister for Women and Equalities (Elizabeth Truss) - Parliament Live - Hansard

I have been clear that the Government are committed to tackling the abhorrent practice of so-called gay-conversion therapy in the UK. As the Prime Minister reiterated earlier this week, this practice has no place in civilised society. Our action will be determined by research looking at how best to define conversion therapy, the scale of the issue, where it is happening and who it is happening to. When that research is complete, I will bring forward proposals to ban conversion therapy, making sure that our measures are effective so that no innocent people have to endure such tortuous practices.

Dr Luke Evans Portrait Dr Evans [V] - Parliament Live - Hansard

As we approach to the summer holiday recess, it looks like we all need it. With that in mind, what steps are the Government taking to tackle the effects of body-image issues on young people? Will the Minister meet me to consider the merits of a law that requires a logo to be displayed if an image of a human body or body part has been digitally altered in its proportions?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Parliament Live - Hansard

We are working closely with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the issue of body image and its impact on young people. I would be happy to organise a meeting, possibly with those Ministers who are leading on the issue. I also welcome the work that the Women and Equalities Committee is doing on the subject.

Marsha De Cordova Portrait Marsha De Cordova (Battersea) (Lab) [V] - Parliament Live - Hansard
22 Jul 2020, 12:02 a.m.

Last week, the Government published details of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities and announced its chair, who has previously said:

“Much of the supposed evidence of institutional racism is flimsy.”

Yet we know that black workers with degrees earn on average 23% less than their white counterparts. The need for action is urgent. Inaction is costing members of the black, Asian and minority ethnic communities both their livelihoods and their lives. What assurances can the Minister give the House today that her Government are serious about finally ending institutional racism?

Break in Debate

Harriett Baldwin Portrait Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard

Gender pay gap reporting has been suspended because of the coronavirus crisis. As the economic downturn is likely to disproportionately affect women, does the Secretary of State agree that it is important that gender pay gap reporting starts again immediately? [905194]

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Parliament Live - Hansard

The key priority during the coronavirus crisis is to make sure that we keep women in jobs, and that has been our No. 1 focus as a Government. Of course, it is vital that we address the issues that cause the gender pay gap, and we continue to help more girls study maths and science, which I talked about earlier, and we also continue to address discrimination in the workplace.

Kirsten Oswald Portrait Kirsten Oswald (East Renfrewshire) (SNP) [V] - Parliament Live - Hansard

Last year, the UK Government consulted on extending—[Inaudible.] By 2019, the UK Government committed to improving redundancy protection. However, no legislation [Inaudible.] Will the Minister provide an update on what progress has been made or is it, as I fear, that there has not been any? [905197]

Oral Answers to Questions

Elizabeth Truss Excerpts
Wednesday 17th June 2020

(3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Cabinet Office
Craig Tracey Portrait Craig Tracey (North Warwickshire) (Con) - Hansard

What assessment she has made of the potential effect on the economy of increased levels of female entrepreneurship after the covid-19 outbreak. [903362]

Elizabeth Truss Portrait The Minister for Women and Equalities (Elizabeth Truss) - Hansard

The Government’s Rose review into female entrepreneurship found that £250 billion of new value could be added to the UK economy if women started and scaled businesses at the same rate as men. We must take the opportunity, as we recover from the covid crisis, to help make this happen.

Craig Tracey Portrait Craig Tracey - Hansard

I recently highlighted to my right hon. Friend that very point about the £250 billion, and, as part of that solution, I have been working to try to deliver a set of women’s business hubs across the UK, which I know the British Library is also working on. What other steps can she take to ensure that part of the covid recovery benefits women across the UK and encourages more female entrepreneurs?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard

I congratulate my hon. Friend on his work for the all-party group on women and enterprise. He is absolutely right: we need to make sure that, as part of our levelling-up agenda, this is a cross-UK phenomenon. We have growth hubs across the country. We are also working on mentoring schemes and on trying to ensure that investment is available right through the UK to help those start-up businesses get going.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker - Hansard

I call the Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Caroline Nokes.

Caroline Nokes Portrait Caroline Nokes (Romsey and Southampton North) (Con) - Hansard

My right hon. Friend has shown real passion and commitment to female entrepreneurship, which will be absolutely crucial as we seek to recover from covid. Unfortunately, those same women will not be able to start up their own businesses or to be assisted to go back into the wider workforce unless they can have reliable, accessible, available childcare. What specific discussions is she having across Government to ensure that that childcare is available? We recognise that there are challenges around social distancing and the hours that schools can operate, but will she please enlighten us on what she is doing?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right about the vital importance of childcare. We also need to ensure that the flexible working practices that have developed during this covid crisis are available to both women and men following the crisis. We are making sure that educational settings are open as soon as possible. More than 90% of nursery schools and colleges were open on 4 June, and I am working very closely with the Secretary of State for Education and his Ministers to ensure that we reform childcare and make more places available.

Owen Thompson Portrait Owen Thompson (Midlothian) (SNP) - Hansard

What recent assessment she has made of the implications of the Black Lives Matter movement for the priorities of the Government Equalities Office. [903364]

Break in Debate

Christian Wakeford Portrait Christian Wakeford (Bury South) (Con) - Hansard

What steps she is taking to end conversion therapy. [903365]

Elizabeth Truss Portrait The Minister for Women and Equalities (Elizabeth Truss) - Hansard

Conversion therapy is a vile, abhorrent practice that we want to stop. We have commissioned research to look at the scope of the practice in the UK, and we will publish our plans shortly after we receive that research.

Christian Wakeford Portrait Christian Wakeford - Hansard

I thank the Minister for her words on this abhorrent practice. Will she consider taking specific steps to protect under-18s from conversion therapy?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard

I am particularly concerned about under-18s being coerced into so-called conversion therapies, and that is one of the specific points that we will address when we launch our plans shortly.

Alexander Stafford Portrait Alexander Stafford (Rother Valley) (Con) - Hansard

What steps the Government are taking to ensure equality of economic opportunity after the covid-19 outbreak. [903366]

Break in Debate

Peter Gibson Portrait Peter Gibson (Darlington) (Con) - Hansard

What steps she is taking with the Foreign Secretary to promote global LGBT equality. [903368]

Elizabeth Truss Portrait The Minister for Women and Equalities (Elizabeth Truss) - Hansard

We want LGBT people across the world to be free to live their lives without discrimination or persecution. I am working closely on that with the Foreign Secretary and, as we launch trade negotiations with Australia today, I am delighted to have worked with high commissioner George Brandis, who played a leading role in Australia’s legalisation of same-sex marriage. We will continue to work with close allies to lead the world on this issue.

Peter Gibson Portrait Peter Gibson - Hansard
17 Jun 2020, midnight

In the month of Pride, being celebrated around the world, and looking forward to the rescheduled global LGBT conference being hosted here under the chairmanship of the right hon. Nick Herbert, does the Minister agree that it is essential for us to deliver on our 2018 LGBT action plan in order to preserve our place as a co-chair of the global Equal Rights Coalition?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard
17 Jun 2020, midnight

I take this opportunity to wish everybody the very best for a happy Pride. I am sure that we will be doing a lot of things virtually rather than on the streets, but it is very important that we celebrate, and I am delighted that we are hosting the LGBT conference on the theme of “Safe to be me”. In response to my hon. Friend’s question, we will be updating our plans for LGBT rights for 2020 and we want to continue to lead the world on this issue.

Kate Griffiths Portrait Kate Griffiths (Burton) (Con) - Hansard

What steps she is taking to help ensure that BAME key workers are protected during the covid-19 outbreak. [903369]

Break in Debate

Mary Kelly Foy Portrait Mary Kelly Foy (City of Durham) (Lab) - Hansard

What assessment she has made of the potential effect on the gender pay gap of the suspension of gender pay gap reporting during the covid-19 outbreak. [903377]

Elizabeth Truss Portrait The Minister for Women and Equalities (Elizabeth Truss) - Hansard
17 Jun 2020, midnight

To ease the burdens on businesses due to coronavirus, we suspended enforcement of the gender pay gap reporting in March. Despite that, more than 5,500 companies have reported to date, and employers continue to do so.

Mary Kelly Foy Portrait Mary Kelly Foy - Hansard

Gender pay gap reporting was removed in March, yet even then, just two weeks before the deadline, only around half the businesses expected to report had done so. This cannot become a lost year for narrowing the gender pay gap. Eliminating pay inequality, especially for those women in low-paid, insecure work, must be at the heart of the recovery. Will the Minister tell me exactly when gender pay gap reporting will be restored and how the information will be used as part of the coronavirus recovery?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard

We are in a serious economic situation due to covid-19, and my priority, as the Minister for Women and Equalities, is to make sure that women stay in employment where possible and are able to get jobs where possible. That is where I am putting all my efforts.

Neil Gray Portrait Neil Gray (Airdrie and Shotts) (SNP) - Hansard

If she will make a statement on her departmental responsibilities. [903399]

Elizabeth Truss Portrait The Minister for Women and Equalities (Elizabeth Truss) - Hansard

As we recover from the covid-19 pandemic, the Government will ensure that everyone has the opportunity to succeed, which is why the Prime Minister announced that we are setting up a new commission on race and ethnic disparities, and why we will be hosting an international LGBT conference once international travel allows. We will work to support businesses to maintain some of the positive changes we have seen, such as greater flexible working, which benefits women, men and their families.

Neil Gray Portrait Neil Gray [V] - Hansard

In the light of that answer, I refer the Minister to the latest report by the Social Mobility Commission, which highlights that in the past seven years there was little or no action by successive Governments on a third of its recommendations, including on ensuring that child poverty is not exacerbated by universal credit, which received the lowest, red rating, based on evidence showing that 72% of children living in poverty live in households where at least one adult is in work and that black, Asian and minority ethnic children are more likely to be in poverty. Given the total lack of leadership by the Minister’s UK Government, as highlighted by the report, will she take ownership so that her Government can finally step up and ensure that that report, and the millions of children in poverty, are not ignored?

Sir Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker - Hansard

I think we have got the question.

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard

The most vital tool in social mobility is education, which is why we are absolutely determined to get children back to school and to support children who are not in school through virtual lessons. I encourage the Scottish Government to follow the leadership that we are showing.

Mike Wood Portrait Mike Wood (Dudley South) (Con) - Hansard

Nobody’s chances in life should be limited by the colour of their skin or their ethnic background. What progress is the Prime Minister’s race disparity commission, and when might we start to see results? [903401]

Break in Debate

Cherilyn Mackrory Portrait Cherilyn Mackrory (Truro and Falmouth) (Con) - Hansard

Will my right hon. Friend join me in celebrating the good news that the so-called “rough sex gone wrong” defence will now be outlawed? [903402]

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. It was a disgrace that that was being used as a defence in criminal cases of murder. I pay tribute to Members from all parties who have run an effective campaign and congratulate the Ministry of Justice on taking action on the issue.

John Spellar Portrait John Spellar (Warley) (Lab) - Hansard

I am pleased that the Prime Minister is in the wings to hear this question. We know that the Disclosure and Barring Service sometimes bars people from work for decades and is, frankly, unfair and discriminatory; we know that the Windrush scandal is still ongoing, and there is dither and delay in the Home Office; and we know that in health and care services there has been a disproportionate impact on those from BME communities, especially among women in nursing and care roles. We do not need another commission to decide this; what we need is some action. What is the Minister going to do about it? [903400]

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard

The right hon. Gentleman makes a fair point about the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard

The right hon. Gentleman makes a fair point about the Disclosure and Barring Service. It is something we are looking at, but it is important that we look at this across the board, and that is why we have set up the commission.

Mr Mark Harper Portrait Mr Mark Harper (Forest of Dean) (Con) - Hansard

I have a short question. Being out of school really impacts on children’s opportunities. Can the Minister commit to getting every single child back to school in September? [903403]

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. It is vital we get our children back into school. My right hon. Friend the Education Secretary is working very hard on this, and we are doing everything we can to make it happen.

Oral Answers to Questions

Elizabeth Truss Excerpts
Wednesday 6th May 2020

(4 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Cabinet Office
Dehenna Davison Portrait Dehenna Davison (Bishop Auckland) (Con) - Hansard

What steps the Government are taking to help ensure that the UK remains a world leader for LGBT rights. [902297]

Elizabeth Truss Portrait The Minister for Women and Equalities (Elizabeth Truss) - Hansard

I am proud that we are one of the leading countries in the world for LGBT rights. The UK will host an international LGBT conference, chaired by Nick Herbert. The theme is “Safe to be me”. It will focus on asking countries to tackle the persecution of LGBT people, including ending violence and discrimination.

Robert Largan Portrait Robert Largan [V] - Hansard

The Government have a strong record on LGBT rights, especially the introduction of equal marriage, which I am proud to have campaigned for. We have come a long way, but there is still work to be done. Can my right hon. Friend tell me why a married monogamous gay couple living in High Peak cannot donate blood or plasma, including for the ongoing and vital covid-19 trial?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard

I appreciate that many gay and bisexual men want to contribute to the efforts to fight this virus. The rules that specify the conditions for donating blood are from the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs. I am taking up this matter with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to see what changes could be made.

Dehenna Davison Portrait Dehenna Davison [V] - Hansard

We have seen numerous reports that the covid lockdown is having a disproportionately negative impact on the LGBT+ community, here in Bishop Auckland and right across our country, particularly with regard to mental health, domestic abuse and homelessness. With the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia coming up on 17 May, what are the Government doing to ensure that LGBT+ people are receiving the support needed throughout the covid crisis?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard

I thank my hon. Friend for her question. We are ensuring that LGBT people get proper support during the covid crisis, including health support. In March, I extended the contract of Dr Michael Brady as our national adviser on LGBT healthcare. He is instrumental in ensuring that support is provided for LGBT people during this pandemic.

Gill Furniss Portrait Gill Furniss (Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough) (Lab) [V] - Hansard

Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, gender identity clinics in England have had to reduce their services. While it is understandable that hospitals prioritise their services during this crisis, can the Minister assure the House that trans people will still be able to access the gender identity services they need during the crisis?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard

We absolutely want to ensure that all LGBT people are able to secure that support during the crisis. That is why we have extended the contract of Dr Michael Brady, and where we are able to provide those services we are ensuring that we do. I will follow up on the specific issue my hon. Friend raises with Dr Michael Brady to ensure that those services are available.

Dean Russell Portrait Dean Russell (Watford) (Con) - Hansard

What recent assessment she has made of the trends in the level of uptake of STEM subjects by girls. [902290]

Elizabeth Truss Portrait The Minister for Women and Equalities (Elizabeth Truss) - Hansard

Since 2010, there has been a 31% increase in girls’ entries to science, technology, engineering and maths A-levels in England, and a 34% increase in the number of women accepted on to full-time STEM undergraduate courses in the UK. Increasing the number of women in STEM industries is vital for our country’s economic success and also for equality of opportunity.

Dean Russell Portrait Dean Russell [V] - Hansard

In Watford we have incredible, inspirational women and girls across the area. Watford girls school, for example, does incredible work in this space. How are we are supporting women, including those who are learning at school at the moment, into STEM roles, so that we can continue to showcase how Britain is playing a leading global role in science for all?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. It is still the case that women make up only 25% of those employed in manufacturing and 30% of those in information technology. We need more women in those fields to use their amazing talents. We are committed to removing the barriers to success for women and to celebrating those who have achieved, such as Ruth Amos of StairSteady, who has invented new areas of engineering, which we should continue to celebrate.

David Johnston Portrait David Johnston (Wantage) (Con) - Hansard

What steps the Government are taking to help ensure equality of opportunity for people throughout the UK. [902295]

Caroline Ansell Portrait Caroline Ansell (Eastbourne) (Con) - Hansard

What steps the Government are taking to help ensure equality of opportunity for people throughout the UK. [902303]

Elizabeth Truss Portrait The Minister for Women and Equalities (Elizabeth Truss) - Hansard

As we turn the tide on covid-19, I want to ensure that the Cabinet Office equalities hub focuses on the evidence, and that everyone in the UK has their opportunity and does not face discrimination or barriers to success.

David Johnston Portrait David Johnston [V] - Hansard

I thank my right hon. Friend for that statement. Does she agree that, although they are not in the Equality Act 2010, we should have a firm focus on social background and social mobility, so that it is not the school someone went to, the family they come from or the area they grew up in that determines their life chances?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. We are restructuring the equalities hub so that it covers areas such as social background and geography. It will put world-class analysis and research at its heart, and I am proud that both the Department for International Trade and the equalities hub were named among the top 75 employers by the social mobility employer index, which I know my hon. Friend established.

Caroline Ansell Portrait Caroline Ansell [V] - Hansard

Education is of course a key driver of social mobility—people would expect me to say no less, as a teacher myself. Will my right hon. Friend join me in thanking all the teachers and headteachers in Eastbourne, who are doing such a tremendous job looking after and educating the children of our key workers, particularly at Shinewater Primary School? Will she also outline what work the Equalities Office is doing with the Department for Education to ensure that those disadvantaged pupils in our schools do not suffer as a result of these very necessary school closures?

Sir Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker - Hansard

Order. Minister, can you pick out a question from that? We cannot continue like that; we have to get through the questions.

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard

Let me put on the record my thanks to all the teachers across the country who are doing a brilliant job keeping our children educated using the latest technology. We are doing all we can to ensure that no child, whatever their background, is left behind during this crisis. We have already committed more than £100 million to boost remote learning, and we are funding access to IT devices and software, focused on the most disadvantaged.

Patrick Grady Portrait Patrick Grady (Glasgow North) (SNP) - Hansard

What recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits for social equality of introducing a universal basic income. [902289]

Oral Answers to Questions

Elizabeth Truss Excerpts
Wednesday 11th March 2020

(6 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Cabinet Office
Sarah Atherton Portrait Sarah Atherton (Wrexham) (Con) - Hansard

1. What steps she is taking to encourage women to enter (a) politics, (b) the judiciary and (c) other public office. [901466]

Elizabeth Truss Portrait The Minister for Women and Equalities (Elizabeth Truss) - Hansard

This House now has 220 women MPs, which is a record. I believe that it is through transparency and meritocracy that we bring more great people into the House. I congratulate my hon. Friend on being one of the first three Welsh female Conservative MPs.

Sarah Atherton Portrait Sarah Atherton - Hansard

Eighty-one per cent. of Wrexham county councillors are male. I am the first female Conservative MP for Wales and one could ask why it has taken so long, although that is for a different debate. Does my right hon. Friend agree that organisations such as Women2Win Wales and the Women’s Equality Network of Cardiff are vital and essential when trying to equalise the gender balance in higher public office?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Anybody who has met Baroness Jenkin will know that she is a force of nature to be reckoned with. She does not just ask women to stand; she tells them to stand—and she has made it happen.

Anne McLaughlin Portrait Anne McLaughlin (Glasgow North East) (SNP) - Hansard

The Centenary Action Group reports that only some of the diversity data on candidates seeking parliamentary nomination is collected and published; that is because it is currently voluntary. I hope that the Minister agrees that that is simply not good enough, so today will she either commit to enacting section 106 of the 10-year-old Equality Act or at least explain why she refuses to do so?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard

I certainly agree with the hon. Lady that more transparency is always helpful in highlighting where we need better opportunities for people to get into public life and politics, but we have to recognise that it is partly down to political parties to show that leadership and make that happen within their own organisations.

Mr Alistair Carmichael Portrait Mr Alistair Carmichael (Orkney and Shetland) (LD) - Hansard

2. What steps the Government is taking to tackle period poverty. [901467]

Break in Debate

Sir David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford) (Con) - Hansard

T1. If she will make a statement on her departmental responsibilities. [901481]

Elizabeth Truss Portrait The Secretary of State for International Trade (Elizabeth Truss) - Hansard
11 Mar 2020, 11:53 a.m.

Over the past week, we have been holding a number of brilliant International Women’s Day celebrations, including a lively debate here in the House, the launch of The House magazine’s list of the 100 most influential women in Westminster, and last night a fantastic event at the US embassy celebrating brilliant transatlantic women. I was hugely inspired by the year 9 girls looking at careers in science with the Prime Minister last week at No. 10. We have a brilliant generation of young women coming through.

Sir David Evennett - Hansard

I thank my right hon. Friend for all the work she is doing to improve opportunities for women in this country and across the world. However, what steps are the Government taking to support and encourage disabled candidates seeking office in the forthcoming local and police and crime commissioner elections?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard
11 Mar 2020, midnight

We want to encourage more people with disabilities to come forward. They often face extra challenges and costs. That is why we have extended the EnAble fund, to support disabled candidates in local elections and police and crime commissioner elections.

Dawn Butler Portrait Dawn Butler (Brent Central) (Lab) - Hansard

Can the Minister confirm that the disproportionate impact on women was specifically considered at the recent Cobra meeting dealing with the effects of coronavirus? Our country’s social infrastructure has been weakened by this Government’s cuts—86% of the cuts have fallen on women. The gig economy and zero-hours contracts have affected women more than any other group, hence the rise of in-work poverty. Caring responsibilities and volunteer work in our country are built on an army of women and grand- parents—the system is dependent on unpaid work by older women. What provisions have the Government made to address the adverse impact on women?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard

We have shown that we have delivered for women. We have a record number of women in work. We have more girls than ever studying science, technology, engineering and maths, with a 30% increase at A-level and an increase in the number of women studying STEM degrees. I suggest to the hon. Lady that her party should show a bit of leadership by enacting a female Labour leader.

Mrs Flick Drummond Portrait Mrs Flick Drummond (Meon Valley) (Con) - Hansard

T2. On Sunday, I played netball for the first time since university at Clanfield sports and community centre with mothers and children. What is my hon. Friend doing to encourage more women and girls into sport? [901482]

Break in Debate

Jim Shannon Portrait Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP) - Hansard

T4. Has there been any discussion with the Department for International Trade regarding the fair payment of women farmers in any trade deals post Brexit as a foundational principle? [901485]

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard

We are determined to ensure that we protect our fantastic food safety standards in any trade deal that we do. The hon. Gentleman will welcome, as I do, the fact that the US has lifted its ban on British beef, benefiting British beef farmers—particularly the Ladies in Beef group, which represents women beef farmers.

Mrs Sheryll Murray Portrait Mrs Sheryll Murray (South East Cornwall) (Con) - Hansard

T5. Does my right hon. Friend think that those from the left constantly attacking our fantastic first female Prime Minister, saying female Ministers should be lynched or constantly attacking our superb female Home Secretary help to encourage women into politics? [901486]

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard
11 Mar 2020, noon

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. There was a despicable cartoon about the Home Secretary in the weekend’s Guardian. She is doing a brilliant job—fighting crime, getting our new immigration system in place—and it is the hypocrisy of those on the left that, when it is not a woman they agree with, they do everything they can to undermine her.

Liz Twist Portrait Liz Twist (Blaydon) (Lab) - Hansard
11 Mar 2020, 11:59 a.m.

A consultation on accessible housing was announced in June 2019 by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, but has not happened. Can the Minister say when the consultation will take place, and will he meet me and representatives of wheelchair users to discuss it?