There have been 14 exchanges between Victoria Atkins and Department for International Trade
|Thu 23rd January 2020||Oral Answers to Questions||34 interactions (1,180 words)|
|Thu 17th October 2019||Oral Answers to Questions||40 interactions (1,225 words)|
|Thu 11th July 2019||Oral Answers to Questions||22 interactions (799 words)|
|Thu 25th April 2019||Oral Answers to Questions||27 interactions (895 words)|
|Thu 14th March 2019||Oral Answers to Questions||22 interactions (607 words)|
|Thu 7th February 2019||Oral Answers to Questions||34 interactions (1,268 words)|
|Thu 20th December 2018||Oral Answers to Questions||25 interactions (837 words)|
|Thu 15th November 2018||Oral Answers to Questions||43 interactions (1,324 words)|
|Thu 13th September 2018||Oral Answers to Questions||69 interactions (2,401 words)|
|Thu 28th June 2018||Oral Answers to Questions||34 interactions (893 words)|
|Thu 17th May 2018||Oral Answers to Questions||45 interactions (1,560 words)|
|Thu 29th March 2018||Oral Answers to Questions||22 interactions (530 words)|
|Thu 22nd February 2018||Oral Answers to Questions||35 interactions (1,112 words)|
|Thu 11th January 2018||Oral Answers to Questions||23 interactions (612 words)|
3. What steps her Department is taking to support women returning to work after a career break. 
Mr Speaker, you may think I am young, but as someone who was elected to this place just a few months before my 50th birthday, may I say how fantastic it is to start a new career and be given a second chance? I often meet women in their 50s and 60s who have so much to offer but do not want to go back to the careers they had before. What more can we do to help those women get the skills and opportunities that they deserve?
Can the Minister clarify whether the Government’s commitment to investing in infrastructure will include support to improve social infrastructure, such as childcare?
Evidence to the Women and Equalities Committee showed that some women experience unwanted career breaks, particularly when they are pregnant or they are new mums, and sometimes those are covered up by non-disclosure agreements. What action is my hon. Friend taking to ensure that non-disclosure agreements are not used to cover up unlawful behaviour, particularly pregnancy discrimination?
4. What recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on transitional arrangements for women born in the 1950s affected by the increase in the state pension age. 
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7. What recent discussions she has had with the Home Secretary on reducing hate crime directed at the LGBT+ community. 
The Minister will no doubt be aware of the serious rise in hate crimes against the LGBT+ community, and particularly the trans community. Hate crimes are up by 25% against the LGBT+ community and up by 37% against the trans community in the past year. Those are shocking rises, and it is not just due to the fivefold increase in reporting. They are shocking statistics. Does she agree that sex and relationships education in schools is crucial, as is responsible reporting, particularly on issues facing the trans community?
This is my first time at the Dispatch Box this year, so may I congratulate you on your re-election, Mr Speaker, and say happy new year to all the staff in the House?
I thank the Minister for her response. Now that the general election is over, there seems to be no need to prolong the decision making any further. She should have had plenty of time to study carefully the consultation on the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and consider the Government’s response. Will she take this opportunity to update the House?
9. What steps the Government Equalities Office is taking to help promote shared parental leave. 
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11. What steps the Government are taking to support women in (a) Bosworth constituency and (b) the UK who experience domestic violence. 
As a GP, I find that domestic violence cases are one of the hardest types of cases: they are difficult both to identify and to deal with, and that is sad. What are the Minister and her Department doing to help to educate those who work in primary care not only on how to identify people who suffer with domestic violent but on how to signpost them to the correct services?
12. What recent assessment she has made of the effect of county lines exploitation on (a) women and (b) girls. 
We think that at least one in 10 people involved in county lines are girls, and the number is probably a lot higher than that. Her Majesty’s inspectorate of constabulary has just published a report on how the police and the NCA are dealing with county lines, and it has a number of really excellent recommendations, many of them about different agencies working together. One recommendation is that by the end of the year there should be a legal definition of child criminal exploitation, so that everybody understands what it is and what they should do about it. Does the Minister agree and will she be working to that goal?
13. What steps she is taking to close the gender pay gap. 
Samira Ahmed’s successful pay discrimination claim against the BBC will have far-reaching implications for other women working at the BBC who will now see their gender pay gap addressed. Samira Ahmed was only able to bring her claim because she knew what male colleagues were earning. What are the Government going to do to assist women employees of the 1.3 million small and medium-sized enterprises who are currently reliant on chance to discover whether they are subject to pay discrimination, because there is no gender pay reporting requirement?
T1. If she will make a statement on her departmental responsibilities. 
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T3. Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service inspectorate recently linked a steep and alarming decline in rape convictions with cuts to the criminal justice system, which have left it close to breaking point. What representations is the Minister making to the Ministry of Justice and the Treasury to ensure that rape victims are able to access justice? 
8. What recent steps the Government have taken to close the gender pay gap. 
The Scottish Government have lowered the threshold for listed public authorities to report their gender pay gaps and publish equal pay statements from more than 150 employees to more than 20. Will the UK Government consider lowering their threshold as well to increase equal-pay transparency?
Last year in Motherwell and Wishaw, women working full-time earned an average of 10% less than their male counterparts. For women who are already struggling with Tory austerity—for example, the capping of universal credit at two children—a 10% increase in pay would make a huge difference. What are the Government doing to help those women, and women across the country?
Flexible working gives many parents with young children an equal chance to work, and they would therefore support the narrowing of the gender pay gap. Does my hon. Friend agree that all job advertisements should specify whether the jobs are flexible, and that employees should have the right to request that flexibility?
Does the Minister agree that the Conservatives have actually done more than any other Government to tackle the issue of pay inequality at work? What more is she doing to help women in the boardroom who do not earn as much as their male counterparts?
May I take this opportunity, Mr Speaker, to congratulate you on your PinkNews award, and your inspirational and outstanding speech? Trans rights are human rights.
In the previous Queen’s Speech, the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May) pledged to make further progress to tackle the gender pay gap, but that was noticeably absent from this week’s Queen’s Speech. Does that mean that the current Prime Minister does not want to reduce the gender pay gap?
I thank the hon. Lady for her very gracious remarks; I apologise for my inattention. It is much appreciated.
As we begin to understand the gender pay gap, does the Minister agree that, because the race pay gap is bigger than the gender pay gap, we should start to compel companies to publish their figures on that?
3. What steps the Government are taking to increase gender equality in boardrooms in the (a) private and (b) public sector. 
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4. What recent steps the Government have taken to improve protections from (a) sexual harassment and (b) bullying at work. 
Last week, a partner at Freshfields solicitors was ordered by a professional tribunal to pay more than a quarter of a million pounds for sexual misconduct with a junior colleague. Should not every regulator treat actions of sexual misconduct as a breach of professional standards? If the regulators do not act, will the Government?
The #MeToo movement was inspired—if that is the right word—by the activities of Harvey Weinstein in the film industry. Despite all their celebrity, many of the women affected did not feel able to turn to anyone when they encountered bullying and harassment in the workplace. That is all the more true for women today, particularly in small businesses. What is the Minister doing to ensure that women have legal and present support? Does she agree that the fact that Harvey Weinstein remains honoured by the British state with a CBE is a terrible indictment of our honours system?
5. What discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on transitional arrangements for women born in the 1950s since the High Court judgment of 3 October 2019. 
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T4. Bullying and harassment that particularly affect women have no place in any workplace anywhere in the world. When will the Government ratify the new International Labour Organisation global convention that outlaws such offences? This Government led the way on that convention when it was established earlier this year. 
T2. May I remind the Minister that next year marks 50 years since the Equal Pay Act 1970, and much of the progress has been made because of our membership of the European Union? I took the first petition on equal pay and sex discrimination to the EU in 1977. Much of the progress has been made because the EU has pushed us and many Labour Members campaigned for many years. How much longer are we going to have to wait? Is it going to be another 50 years? 
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T3. I am sure the Minister will agree that all women deserve equal protection under the law, no matter where they come from. Indeed, I have had positive conversations with Ministers about including migrant women in the Domestic Abuse Bill, but can she tell us when she will be able to commit to including them specifically in that Bill? 
In Cheadle, Northern Rail has responded positively to my campaign for lift accessibility for people with disabilities by giving 24-hour access, but not every disability is visible—some are invisible. Does the Minister agree that we should support people and help to promote the need for accessible toilet signage?
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Sexual harassment online is a major issue for many women. Will the Minister examine the issues of cyber-flashing and revenge porn to make sure that victims are given the proper legal protections from those as sexual offences?
T6. Endometriosis UK found that 476,000 British women had to visit their GP more than 11 times for a positive diagnosis, and that their pain was often dismissed as being psychological. What steps is the Minister taking to eliminate gender bias in the diagnosis of health conditions? 
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When she was Minister for Women and Equalities, my right hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth North (Penny Mordaunt) committed to the House to introduce legislation to remove caste as a protected characteristic from the Equality Act 2010. When will the current Minister for Women and Equalities and her team bring forward legislation so that we can end this bizarre and divisive situation?
T7. In the spirit of equality, the Electoral Reform Society has said that compulsory photo ID for voters will potentially leave millions of voters voiceless. Some 3.5 million voters have no photo ID at all, with the most affected being the elderly, ethnic minorities and those who are socially disadvantaged. Is it not the case that the suppression of voter participation is dangerous and will exclude many from exercising their democratic rights? 
4. Which employment sectors are most gender-biased against (a) women and (b) men; and if she will take steps to tackle those biases. 
Brilliant though the Minister is, she cannot be expected, any more than any of us can, to know the inner workings of the sophisticated mind of the hon. Member for Kettering (Mr Hollobone).
There is a highly disproportionately low number of male primary school teachers. What can the Government do to address this?
I am sure the Minister would agree that in the care sector—where my mother has worked for the past 30 years—the focus tends to be purely on women working in that sector, often because it is part-time and low-paid work. What more will the Minister do to make sure that the care sector is seen as a real profession, with good qualifications and a decent salary.
Only 1% of the tradespeople who work in building maintenance in housing associations are female, so will my hon. Friend endorse the work of the Guinness Partnership and its ambassador tradeswomen who are trying to drive up that figure by going into schools and colleges, encouraging women to pursue a career in construction?
5. What recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on trends in the level of training for prison officers working with women with mental health needs. 
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6. Whether her Department is supporting the Home Office internal investigation into the causes of the Windrush scandal; and if she will make a statement. 
The Government seem obsessed with pushing through a damaging no-deal Brexit, and Windrush victims feel ignored, as they have to make do with an apology, or perhaps another review, then a report, and then a consultation on the report and the review. Words are cheap; actions count. Can the Minister please explain how the process of compensating Windrush victims is progressing?
The Government said that it would take two weeks to resolve the Windrush cases; it has been over 64 weeks thus far. I have a live petition, which garnered more than 800 signatures a day, which I plan to present to the Prime Minister next week. Will the Minister join me in fighting for justice and fairness for the Windrush generation, and support the call to get all cases resolved before we break for recess?
7. When the Government plan to announce a decision on their review of proposals to introduce buffer zones around abortion clinics. 
Ealing’s buffer zone is pioneering, but it is a local byelaw and its renewal process will have to start next year, notwithstanding its High Court challenge next week. Women up and down the country—clinic users and staff—need the certainties of protection from harassment by national, lasting legislation, and the evidence of the Minister’s review does not bear out what all the pressure groups are saying. So when will the Government have the guts to act?
6. What assessment she has made of the potential merits of introducing a duty on employers to prevent workplace harassment. 
Women who work in the retail and hospitality sectors in the UK have little protection when they face workplace harassment, which is something that happens far too often. As last year’s Presidents Club scandal shows, employers have no duty to protect their staff. May I encourage the Minister, when she carries out that review, to give serious consideration to reinstating section 40 of the Equality Act 2010 to give women the protection at work they have every right to deserve?
Has the Minister thought about looking at the system of protected conversations that was introduced by the coalition Government? Given the nature of such conversations, that system could give a licence to employers to engage in harassment in conversations that then, under statute, cannot be quoted at subsequent hearings.
7. What steps she is taking to ensure that businesses are held to account on reducing the gender pay gap. 
I am grateful to the Minister for that answer. What early assessment has she made of successful business compliance performance compared with that of last year?
When across 45% of firms the discrepancy in pay increase is in favour of men this year, it is now clear that the Government’ s policy of asking companies simply to report on the gender pay gap is not enough. I welcome the Minister’s response to the question about encouraging people, but will she now heed our advice and make it mandatory for companies also to produce action plans on how they will defeat this inequality against women?
I welcome the progress that has been made in closing the gender pay gap and increasing the representation of women on company boards, but what are the Government doing to support low-paid, low-skilled women, who often seem to be left out of the conversation?
8. What recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the effect of the roll-out of universal credit on women. 
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T3. Because of the huge regional variations in maternity pay, according to the Fire Brigades Union’s women’s committee, most fire-fighters would be better off breaking a leg than having a baby. Will the Government consider an increased and properly enforced flat rate of maternity pay to tackle the gender and regional inequalities present in our fire service? 
Department of Health guidance in Northern Ireland says that Northern Ireland doctors referring women to GEO-funded free abortions in England could be breaking the criminal law. Will the Minister publish her legal advice to enable the Department of Health to change that guidance, which surely is erroneous? Will she update the House on what she is doing to help women in Northern Ireland, such as Sarah Ewart and others, who are being required by law to continue pregnancies where doctors have already told them that their babies will die before they are born or shortly after?
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Order. I am sorry, but I clearly said that Members should be asking single-sentence questions. People have to be able to adjust. It is not difficult.
Recent research shows that the HPV vaccine has led to a dramatic decline in cervical cancer. Having a vaccination saves lives, so can we use this opportunity to urge mums and dads across the UK to ensure that their kids have the measles vaccine?
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T7. When will the Government consult on changes to the law to protect employees from being sexually harassed by customers or clients? It was announced last December. When will it take place? 
3. If she will make an assessment of the potential merits of prohibiting the differential pricing of products and services that are (a) intended for and (b) marketed towards specific genders. 
I thank the Minister for her comments. Research shows that women pay more than men for basic products 42% of the time. Manufacturers claim that this is competition or that more is involved in producing women’s products. Scientists tell us that that is nonsense: we all have the same hair and skin types. Given what she has said about women standing up, will the Minister back my Bill on the pink tax, which is currently going through Parliament, or help to encourage manufacturers and retailers to do away with what is a sexist and outdated practice?
Will the Minister kindly provide an update on the projects being supported by the tampon tax fund?
As the Minister’s reply to the hon. Member for Colchester (Will Quince) will be of wider interest, it might be of service to the House if the hon. Lady places a copy of her reply in the Library.
I am delighted to hear the Minister’s commitment to supporting women who wish to take the matter of the pink tax to task. As it happens, we are in the process of establishing an all-party group concerning the beauty industry. I would welcome the Minister joining the group, so she could, alongside me and colleagues, encourage companies to look at the pink tax. It seems an irony, given that women’s earning potential is less than men’s. We really should be looking at this issue far more closely.
4. What steps she is taking to tackle period poverty. 
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T4. In my constituency, the sex worker outreach project run by the admirable Nelson Trust is doing really good work to help women to come off the streets and lead very different lives. What support can the Government provide to help these kinds of community services? Does my right hon. Friend agree that reducing the number of women in prison on short sentences would help this kind of rehabilitation? 
The primary victims of religiously motivated attacks are women, but how can the Government reassure Muslim women that they are serious about tackling Islamophobia when they choose to ignore and shut down the voices of the British Muslims in their own party who are calling for an independent inquiry into institutional Islamophobia? Speaking as a British Muslim, I believe that it is disgraceful and patronising that the Conservative party continues to refuse to act and tells British Muslims in the party that there is not a problem. Will the Minister at least accept that her party has a problem?
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T7. The Alison Rose review of female entrepreneurship highlights the fact that £250 billion of untapped potential is lost to the sector because it is not taken seriously enough. Does my hon. Friend agree that businesses, especially banks, should be urged to take a much more inclusive approach to female entrepreneurs? 
T3. What steps are being taken to ensure that non-disclosure agreements are not used to cover up discrimination and harassment? 
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What measures could be included in the draft Domestic Abuse Bill to ensure that parental responsibility does not override restraining orders, especially when partners have been convicted of coercive behaviour?
As the Minister for Women and Equalities knows, the estimated 18% gender pay gap is likely to grow following Brexit as women in public services and retail are disproportionately affected. Does she accept that the women who voted to leave did not vote to leave themselves worse off and that they deserve a final-say referendum on the exit deal?
11. What assessment she has made of the potential effectiveness of provisions in the draft domestic abuse Bill to support women and children who do not have secure immigration status. 
If the system is so effective, why does the Ubuntu women’s shelter in my constituency have to be the first charity in the UK to provide short-term accommodation for women with no recourse to public funds? Fleeing gender-based and domestic violence, they are denied access to homelessness, social security and housing support. These are non-EEA women with limited leave to remain. Women who have settled status or leave to remain face delays in processing their status. Any situation where women fleeing domestic violence, torture or persecution have no recourse to public funds is unacceptable. Does the Minister agree, and what is she going to do about it?
As the Home Affairs Committee, we have expressed concern that the police, having helped an individual who is a survivor of domestic abuse, are then sharing their details with the Home Office for the purposes of immigration control. This has a chilling effect on the likelihood of reporting abuse. Will the Minister give an assurance that when the domestic abuse Bill has made its way through this place, the only thing that will matter is a woman’s welfare, not their immigration status?