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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 27 February 2008

Women and Equality

Departmental Marketing

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what products featuring departmental or Government branding have been procured by the Government Equalities Office since its establishment. [185204]

Barbara Follett: A logo for the Government’s Office for Equalities was produced. The cost for this was £1,300. This is used on a range of publications and letter heading. Two exhibition banner stands have been purchased costing £354.25 including VAT. In addition a number of canvas bags were purchased for the Office at a cost of £1,437.21 for use as part of the European Year of Equal Opportunity for All and at events organised by the Office.

Equal Opportunities

Ben Chapman: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what recent research she has evaluated on the effect of the time spent on domestic tasks on women’s career progression; whether she has received representations on this matter; and if she will make a statement. [181448]

Barbara Follett: There are a large number of factors that affect the career progression of women, and how much they earn. These include differences in men and women’s labour market experience (for example as a result of women taking time out to look after children), skills and education, occupational segregation, lack of quality part-time work (especially for women returning from maternity leave), historical culture, gender stereotyping, and pay discrimination.

Research published in 2006 by the Department of Work and Pensions(1) tends to support the theory that gender differences in the labour market stem from the division of parental duties (including child care) between mothers and fathers in the home. Research published in the British Social Attitudes survey, published on 23 January 2008, suggests that only one in six men now believe that a woman’s place is in the home, compared with one in three in 1989. However the same survey found that 77 per cent. of people with partners say that the woman usually or always does the laundry, a similar proportion to that found in 1994 (81 per cent.). The British Social Attitudes Survey also found that the most liberal division of labour between women and men is found among couples where the woman works full-time, earns more than her partner, or has a partner who does not work.

The Government are working to enable families to have real choices about how they live their lives, including how they balance responsibilities at home and at work. The Government is committed to reducing the inequalities that still exist at home and in the workplace, including
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reducing the gender pay gap, through the introduction of practical measures across a wide front, for example the encouragement of flexible and good quality part-time working, improved maternity and paternity leave, better access to child care, and introduction of the minimum wage.

Equal Pay

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what recent steps the Government has taken to reduce the gender pay gap in the public sector. [185375]

Barbara Follett [holding answer 7 February 2008]: The gender pay gap for full-time public sector workers (based on the median) was 10.2 per cent. in 2007 compared to 20.0 per cent. in the private sector. In 1997 the figures were 13.5 per cent. and 23.8 per cent. respectively.

Closing the pay gap between men and women in both the public and private sectors is a high priority for us, as Harriet Harman made clear in my statement to Parliament on women’s priorities last July. We see it as an essential part of enabling families to have real choices about how they live their lives, because the pay gap plays such a large part in the unequal division of labour in the home, preventing fathers from playing a more active role in their children’s early years and preventing women from fulfilling their opportunities to work. To galvanise this, closing the pay gap is now one of the indicators in the new Equalities Public Service Agreement. This will help to build on other practical measures we have introduced, such as: giving the parents of young, or disabled, children and the carers of adults the right to request flexible working, and providing more access to child care.

In the field of local government, we have issued £500 million of capitalisation directions to 46 local authorities in the current financial year (which enables those authorities to treat equal pay costs as capital expenditure, which they can then borrow against) to enable them to make equal pay back-payments. The Minister for Local Government confirmed on 5 February that the Government will continue to support councils through a further equal pay capitalisation round in 2008-09. Capitalisation can only be used by local authorities to meet equal pay back-payments, and not for any other costs.

Through the Equality Act 2006, which came into effect in April 2007, we also introduced a general duty on public authorities to promote gender equality and eliminate unlawful discrimination and harassment. The Act and subsequent legislation also imposed specific duties on certain listed public authorities, including central and local government, which include:


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International Development

Afghanistan: Infrastructure

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the (a) number of infrastructure projects, (b) amount spent on such projects and (c) number of people employed on these projects in Afghanistan in each of the last two years, broken down by province. [188216]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The data requested are not held centrally in Afghanistan and to obtain them would incur disproportionate cost.

Fairtrade Initiative

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will take steps to promote Fairtrade Fortnight 2008 amongst staff within his Department; and if he will make a statement. [189510]

Mr. Thomas: During Fairtrade Fortnight DFID is organising a seminar showcasing fair trade and ethical sourcing businesses. In addition to the range of Fairtrade products available to staff throughout the year, our catering provider is running special deals on Fairtrade tea, coffee and confectionery, and special Fairtrade menus are available throughout Fairtrade Fortnight.

Furthermore, East Kilbride—home of DFID’s Abercrombie House offices—was officially named a Fairtrade Town on 23 February, showing a commitment to ensuring that small producers of the developing world get a fair deal.

Members: Correspondence

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when he will reply to the letter of 13 November 2007 from the hon. Member for the Forest of Dean, on IMF and World Bank contributions. [189882]


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Mr. Douglas Alexander: A reply to the hon. Member’s letter of 13 November 2007 has been issued.

Non-Governmental Organisations: Overseas Aid

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much aid was channelled through UK-based non-governmental organisations in each of the last five years, broken down by type of aid budget line; and what allocations have been made for 2007-08 on the same basis. [187163]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: Total DFID expenditure channelled through UK Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in each of the last five years and planned expenditure for 2007-08 through the Civil Society Challenge Fund and Partnership Programme Agreements is set out in the following table. The table also includes planned funding in respect of the Development Awareness Fund and the Strategic Grant Agreement for 2007-08.

DFID also provides ad-hoc funding to agencies and CSOs working in country or at a regional level responding to specific emergencies. DFID’s Conflict, Humanitarian and Security Department (CHASE) estimate that in 2007-08 £8 million was spent on humanitarian relief across a range of natural disasters, from an earthquake in Peru to cyclones and floods in Bangladesh, India, Mexico, North Korea and. Pakistan, to winter shelter for extreme winter conditions in Kyrgyzstan. Of this, £5 million was provided through NGOs.

There is no central allocation of funding through CSOs for humanitarian assistance projects or other parts of the DFID programme.

Multilaterals also allocate funding to CSOs, among these are the European Commission, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Because multilaterals do not report the proportion of their expenditure allocated to CSOs, DFID are unable to attribute multilateral expenditure to CSOs.

DFID expenditure through UK CSO s for 2002-03 to 2006-07 and planned expenditure for 2007-08
£000
Total Civil Society Challenge Fund Partnership Programme Agreement Humanitarian Assistance Country and other DRD Programme

2002-03 (actual)

222,845

13,056

57,227

93,822

58,739

2003-04 (actual)

220,321

10,355

59,000

86,689

64,277

2004-05 (actual)

232,930

10,106

65,263

91,187

66,374

2005-06 (actual)

260,952

13,260

81,650

95,254

70,788

2006-07 (actual)

274,309

13,539

89,141

85,423

86,207

2007-08 (planned)

14,280

90,191

(1)4,200

(1) Includes Development Awareness Fund and the Strategic Grant Agreement only

Final expenditure figures for 2007-08 will not be available until after the end of the fiscal year.

Northern Ireland

Crime: Drugs

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) cases were brought and (b) convictions there were for (i) possession and (ii) distribution of (A) cocaine, (B) heroine, (C) ecstasy, (D) amphetamine and (E) cannabis in Northern Ireland in each of the last two years. [186983]

Paul Goggins: Table 1 gives the number of persons charged for possession and supply of cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, amphetamine and cannabis for 2005-06 and 2006-07.


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The court datasets do not hold information on the number of prosecutions and convictions for different drug types as these do not constitute separate offences by legislation. It is possible, however, to determine the class of drug. Table 2 outlines this information for the number of prosecutions and convictions for possession, possession with intent to supply unlawfully and the unlawful supply of illegal drugs. Data cover the calendar years 2005 and 2006 (the latest available years) and are collated on the principal offence rule; so only the most serious offence with which an offender is charged is included.

It is not possible to reconcile PSNI data routinely on the number of persons charged with offences and prosecution and conviction data as PSNI data denote each offence as it has been initially recorded and this may differ from the offence for which a suspect or suspects are subsequently proceeded against in the courts.

Table 1: Persons charged or summonsed for possession or trafficking of cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, amphetamine and cannabis( 1) —1 April 2005 to 31 March 2007( 2)
2005-06 2006-07
Persons charged or summonsed with: Persons charged or summonsed with:
Supplying Possession Supplying Possession

Cocaine

44

97

65

133

Heroin

10

21

33

41

Ecstasy

65

112

118

229

Amphetamine

41

63

43

97

Cannabis

168

923

225

839

(1) As a person can be charged with or summonsed for both supplying and possessing drug offences, the figures cannot be added to give the total number of persons charged or summonsed.
Source:
PSNI Central Statistics Unit.

Table 2: Number prosecuted and convicted for possession, possession with intent to supply unlawfully and the unlawful supply of illegal drugs by class of drug 2005 and 2006
2005 2006( 1)
Prosecuted Convicted Prosecuted Convicted

Unlawful possession

Class A

113

111

174

157

Class B

75

67

42

34

Class C

310

279

417

380

Total

498

457

633

571

Unlawful possession with intent to supply

Class A

48

42

65

45

Class B

39

31

35

26

Class C

47

41

65

56

Total

134

114

165

127

Unlawful supply

Class A

4

4

4

3

Class B

5

3

3

2

Class C

8

8

7

7

Total

17

15

14

12

Overall total

649

586

812

710

(1) Data for 2006 are provisional.
Source:
NIO Statistics and Research Branch.

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