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Pay Review

Volume 403: debated on Tuesday 8 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made with the pay review in her Department, agencies and non-departmental public bodies for which she is responsible, with particular reference to the gender pay gap; and if she will make a statement. [106750]

In its response to the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) Task Force report, "Just Pay", the Government committed all Departments and agencies to review their pay systems by April 2003 and prepare action plans to close any equal pay gaps.The position in Defra and its agencies is as follows:

Defra

Defra has undertaken an equal pay review in line with the guidance from the Cabinet Office. This has included the Pesticides Safety Directorate and Veterinary Medicines Directorate, for which the core department has pay remit and negotiating responsibility.

The review, which has now been completed, looked at not only gender issues, but also those of ethnicity and disability. The review"s conclusions are shortly to be considered by senior management. Defra will report back to the Cabinet Office with an action plan by the end of April.

Agencies

Central Science Laboratory

The Central Science Laboratory began an equal pay audit in Autumn 2002. An action plan has been prepared and is under discussion. The Central Science Laboratory aims to able to submit the action plan to the Cabinet Office by the end of April 2003.

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science

An equal pay review has been carried out in the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, and a draft report is being considered by senior management.

Rural Payments Agency

The Rural Payments Agency has carried out an equal pay review in accordance with the Cabinet Office guidance and an interim report has been prepared. The full report is expected this month and will then be considered.

Veterinary Laboratories Agency

The Veterinary Laboratory Agency pay equality audit has been completed and an Action Plan sent to the Cabinet Office. Any action necessary will be considered within the pay negotiations for 2003.

Non-departmental public bodies

Non-departmental public bodies are not required to undertake an equal pay review by April 2003, although several have done so.