Prosperity and fairness

 

Surely the hon. Lady acknowledges the Low Pay Commission’s conclusion:

“In light of this evidence we concluded when thinking about the pay floor for this age group, that it could not currently be set to the same level as the national living wage without risks to employment.”

 

Alison Thewliss

(Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Housing, Communities and Local Government))

Will my hon. Friend join me in welcoming the £1.7 billion announced in the Budget to increase work allowances for families with children, which will mean that 2.4 million families will be better off?

 

Alok Sharma (The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions)

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. I always find it interesting when Opposition Members talk about helping their constituents. Sadly, what they do not then do is vote in the Lobby to support the policies designed to help those very people.

Given my hon. Friend’s personal interest in this matter, will he join me in supporting the Government’s “Share the joy” campaign to encourage greater take-up of shared parental leave?

 

Andrew Griffiths (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy))

What sanctions are available if companies fail to meet their legal obligations to help to close the gender pay gap?

 

Amber Rudd 

(The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Minister for Women and Equalities)

What is the law is that gender pay gap reporting takes place. The EHRC has the ability to take measures that can end up with fines and further sanctions. In terms of proposals for companies to actually close the gap themselves, we encourage them to put forward their own plans.

I declare an interest as my wife volunteers at a refuge. Will my hon. Friend assure the House that Ministers have met organisations such as Women’s Aid to ensure that their views on the new funding model are properly listened to and considered?

 

Victoria Atkins (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department)

Over the past two and a half years I have met many constituents who have been directly affected by the various changes to the state pension age. Listening to them, it is impossible not to feel every sympathy, given the circumstances in which many find themselves. If I suddenly found out that I would not be able to retire at the age I had expected, I am not sure that I could say how I felt—actually, I probably could, but I fear my language would not be parliamentary.

The Secretary of State referred to the welcome increase in the number of girls doing STEM subjects at A-level. What measures will the Government take to increase the number of girls choosing careers that require STEM subjects?

 

Justine Greening (Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for Education)

The fact that some women are still discriminated against during pregnancy or maternity leave is both unacceptable and unlawful. Will the Minister assure the House that the Government not only take the problem extremely seriously but are looking at how laws can be better enforced to give the protection she promises?

 

Claire Perry (The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)

When the Chancellor cut corporation tax in the Budget, he reduced the losses that banks could offset against corporation tax liabilities. Will he consider extending that to ensure that while we have the lowest possible rates, everyone pays their fair share of corporation tax?

 

George Osborne (Chancellor of the Exchequer and First Secretary of State)

Let me start with amendments 5 and 6, tabled by
the right hon. Member for Tottenham (Mr Lammy), which would either remove or raise the compensation cap. Although I fully understand his reasons for asking that the level of the cap be considered, I am unable to support either amendment. As I have stated at earlier stages in the legislative process, we simply cannot continue to have a situation in which the public purse is subject to unlimited liability.