Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what discussions on age discrimination against children and young people in the provision of goods, facilities and services Ministers and officials in the Government Equalities Office have held with (a) non-governmental organisations and (b) UK childrens commissioners since 2005. 
Barbara Follett: The Government Equalities Office was established on 12 October 2007. Prior to this date the Discrimination Law Review Project was the responsibility of the women and equality unit in the Department of Communities and Local Government. Since 2005, Ministers for women and equality have met the Childrens Rights Alliance for England on two occasions; one of those meetings was attended by a group of young people. In late 2006, the women and equality unit hosted a roundtable discussion on children and young people, which was attended by non-governmental organisations and the childrens commissioners for England and Scotland. During the consultation period for the Equality Bill, the Childrens Rights Alliance for England organised a consultation event on behalf of the women and equality unit. Officials also met the Childrens Rights Alliance for England in August 2007 and the childrens commissioners for England and Scotland in March 2008.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what written representations concerning age discrimination against children and young people in the provision of goods, facilities and services Ministers and officials in the Government Equalities Office have received from (a) non-governmental organisations, (b) UK Childrens Commissioners and (c) members of the public since 2005. 
Barbara Follett: The consultation paper on proposals for the Equality Bill, A Framework for Fairness, signalled that the Government was considering the case for prohibiting age discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services and for a single public sector duty extended to cover age. Over 4,000 organisations and individuals responded to the consultation, of which over 700 addressed the issue of prohibiting age discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services and over 50 of these responded specifically on the issue of children. The list of organisations that responded to the consultation is available on the Government Equalities Office website.
Barbara Follett: The chair of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) was Trevor Phillips from February 2003 until November 2006 and Kay Hampton from November 2006 until the CRE became part of the Equality and Human Rights Commission on 1 October 2007. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has not inherited records from the CRE about leave taken but it is clear that the chair was entitled to 24 days annual leave, in addition to public holidays and two and half privilege days per annum.
Barbara Follett: Expenditure from the Government Equalities Offices official hospitality account is monitored internally by its finance team and externally by the National Audit Office. It is also subject to internal audit. The GEOs directors and deputy directors (six in total) can claim for alcohol purchased for official events and functions.
Barbara Follett: The directors and deputy directors (six in number) of the Government Equalities Office can claim expenses for alcohol purchased for hospitality at official working lunches and business gatherings. The reimbursement of these is dependent upon the provision and scrutiny of detailed receipts. Such reimbursement is subject to official departmental limits. Since the GEO was established on 12 October 2007 one such claim has been made.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many individual domestic air flights were undertaken within Great Britain by representatives of the Government Equalities Office since its creation; and at what cost. 
Barbara Follett: Since its creation on 12 October 2007 the Government Equalities Office has paid for one domestic flight for a member of its staff. This was a return flight to Glasgow and cost £246.40.
John McDonnell: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many contracts the offices now comprising the Governments Equalities Office awarded to consultants in 2006-07; how many contracts went out to tender in 2006-07; what the value of each was; and which contracts were not put out to tender. 
Barbara Follett [holding answer 17 July 2008]: The Government Equalities Office was established on 12 October 2007. It has taken over responsibility for equality issues from a number of different teams and Departments, including: the Disability Rights Commission Sponsorship team, based in 2006-07 in the Department for Work and Pensions; the Commission for Racial Equality Sponsorship Team, based in the Home Office in the first part of 2006-07, then transferred to the Department of Communities and Local Government; the Women and Equality Unit, based in the Department for Trade and Industry until May 2006, then in Communities and Local Government; and lawyers from DTI and HO, who transferred to CLG in May 2006. To answer the question accurately would therefore require investigation of records that are widely dispersed in a number of different Departments and locations and this could be done only at disproportionate cost.
David Simpson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what percentage of paper used (a) for photocopying and (b) in printed publications by the Government Equalities Office has been from recycled sources. 
Barbara Follett: In the Government Equalities Office (GEO) all of the paper used for photocopying contains 100 per cent. recycled content. All GEOs publications are printed on paper containing a minimum of 75 per cent. recycled fibre content. This is in line with the mandatory Buy SustainableQuick Wins minimum environmental product standards developed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many and what proportion of staff in the Government Equalities Office have received bonus payments since the office was established; what the total amount of bonuses paid has been; what the largest single payment has been; and if she will make a statement. 
Barbara Follett: Since the establishment of the Government Equalities Office on 12 October 2007, 26 staff (32 per cent. of work force) have received special bonus payments. The total amount of special bonuses paid was £11,700, with the largest single payment being £1,000.
Barbara Follett: The Government Equalities Office (GEO) was established on 12 October 2007. Since then it has been based in Department of Communities and Local Government (CLG) buildings and CLG have been providing mail services for GEO as part of wider rental agreements. CLG monitor these mail services and are concerned to minimise costs. For example, all post is sent second class.
Barbara Follett: The Government Equalities Office has carried out a far-reaching review of the entire discrimination legislative framework in the Discrimination Law Review. We announced the headline results last month, and published a comprehensive response on 21 July (The Equality Bill: Government Response to the consultation). The Equality Bill to streamline and strengthen discrimination law, decluttering the current complexity of legislation and guidance.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what the standard retirement age in the Government Equalities Office is; and how many people worked beyond the standard retirement age since the Offices inception. 
Barbara Follett: Until the Government Equalities Office agrees its own set of terms and conditions its staff are on loan from other Departments and they, therefore, work under the terms and conditions they agreed with in their parent Departments. However the majority of GEO staff are drawn from the Departments for Communities and Local Government and Work and Pensions both of which have removed the retirement age for all staff below senior civil servant (SCS) grade. At present the latter can continue to work until they reach the age of 65 but this age limit is due to be reviewed in 2011. To date, the GEO has not received any requests from SCS staff who want to work beyond the mandatory retirement age.
Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many and what proportion of Parliamentary questions for answer on a named day to the Government Equalities Office received a (a) holding and (b) substantive answer on the named day in each year since 2001. 
Barbara Follett: The Government Equalities Office (GEO) was established in October 2007. However, it has been answering parliamentary written questions on issues relating to women and equality since July 2007. A total of 30 named day questions have been answered in that time, of which six (20 per cent.) received a substantive reply by the named day and 24 (80 per cent.) received a holding reply on the named day.
David Simpson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how long on average the Government Equalities Office took to answer (a) ordinary written and (b) named day questions since its creation. 
Barbara Follett: The Government Equalities Office (GEO) was officially established in October 2007, but it has been answering parliamentary written questions since July 2007. Since then, it has taken an average of 12.6 working days (days when the House is sitting and when parliamentary questions can be tabled) and 9.5 working days to answer named day questions.
Barbara Follett: The gender pay gap is calculated annually by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), using information from their Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings. The ONS recommends measuring the pay gap using the median value of hourly earnings.
The full-time gender pay gap is the percentage difference between men and womens median hourly pay (excluding overtime) for full-time jobs. The full-time gender pay gap over the last three years is in the following table:
The part-time pay gap is the percentage difference between womens median hourly part-time pay (excluding overtime) and mens median hourly full-time pay (excluding overtime. The part-time gender pay gap figures for the last three years is in the following table:
|(1 )The figures given for 2006 are a revision of the original figures for that year. The revised figures reflect a small number of methodological changes to the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, which improve the quality of its results.|
Lynne Jones: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality pursuant to the answer of 26 February 2008, Official Report, column 2831W, on equality, whether individual commissioners are required to give assurances that they support each of the objectives and statutory duties of the Equality and Human Rights Commission as a requirement of (a) appointment and (b) re-appointment. 
Barbara Follett: Commissioners of the Equality and Human Rights Commission have a collective responsibility clause in their code of conduct and, when speaking as representatives of the Commission, are required to express the views of the Commission as a whole.
Barbara Follett: No. The Government are committed to introducing an Equality Bill during this Parliament. The further policy consideration that our comprehensive consultation provoked, and our ongoing engagement with stakeholders, means that we have no plans to publish the Bill in draft.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what meetings he has had with representatives of the banking industry since the onset of the credit crunch; what agreements were reached at such meetings; what steps the (a) Government and (b) banking industry undertook to take at those meetings; whether proposals to (i) restructure the remuneration packages of banking industry employees and (ii) amend the accountability regime affecting banking activities were made at such meetings; and if he will make a statement. 
Kitty Ussher: The Chancellor of the Exchequer and other Treasury Ministers regularly meet with representatives of the banking industry. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings.
The Government support the April 2008 Financial Stability Forum report recommendation that the financial services industry should take steps, working with regulators and supervisors, to adjust compensation models so as to mitigate the risks arising from inappropriate incentive structures.
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