To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what mechanisms his Department has to deal with services and policies on child care and family services.
A ministerial group on women's issues was established in 1986 under Home Office chairmanship to co-ordinate policy issues of special concern to women. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, the Member for Southampton, lichen (Mr. Chope), is a member of the group. Issues on which the group has focused in the past 12 months include child care and domestic violence.As an employer my Department operates a range of policies to support working parents. These include career breaks of up to five years, with an associated keeping in touch scheme and extensive opportunities for part-time working. Paternity leave arrangements will be introduced shortly. The Department has also supported play schemes in central London and the regions and further proposals are under consideration.