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Equal Opportunities

Volume 124: debated on Thursday 10 December 1987

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30.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the Government are to publish their reply to the report on fair employment of the Standing Advisory Committee on Human Rights.

We shall announce our plans for legislation on religious equality of opportunity as soon as possible in the new year. Our detailed proposals will take full account of the recommendations of the Standing Advisory Commission's report.

31.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he accepts the recommendation of the Standing Advisory Committee on Human Rights in its report on fair employment, that the Government establish the goal of reducing the differential between male Catholic and male Protestant unemployment from two and a half times to one and a half times over the next five years.

The Government's goal is to effect a substantial reduction in the disparity in employment opportunity between the two communities, through the immediate adoption by all employers of the sound employment practices outlined in our "Guide to Effective Practice."

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many copies of the document "Religious Equality of Opportunity in Employment: Guide to Effective Practice" have been distributed.

Approximately 29,700 copies of the "Guide to Effective Practice" have been distributed to date.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he is yet in a positin to say what steps he proposes to take to implement the recommendations of the Standing Advisory Committee on Human Rights report on equality of opportunity to use the Government's purchasing power to promote equal opportunities, and to eradicate religious discrimination, in employment.

The recommendations made by the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights are being carefully studied and they will be taken fully into account in framing our new legislative proposals. Details will be announced as soon as possible in the new year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether it is his intention to legislate by means of a Bill, rather than by Order in Council, on the recommendation of the Standing Advisory Committee on Human Rights' report on fair employment.

We intend to introduce new fair employment legislation at the earliest opportunity. My right hon. Friend and I have already made it clear that we shall take the recommendations of the Standing Advisory Commission fully into account in the new provisions. We have noted the representations that such legislation should be by Bill.