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Volume 498: debated on Monday 26 October 2009

To ask the Solicitor-General if she will consider the recommendations of the report by the Fawcett Society, Corporate Sexism-the sex industry's infiltration of the modern workplace. (295172)

The Government are committed to ensuring that all workplaces are free from discrimination. The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 provides protection from sex discrimination and harassment across a range of areas, including in employment. The Equality Bill currently going through Parliament will strengthen and simplify existing equality law.

I was very interested to learn about the findings in the Fawcett Society's recent report, “Corporate Sexism—the Sex Industry's Infiltration of the Modern Workplace.” Research like the Fawcett report illustrate that although we have made significant progress in tackling inequality in the workplace, there is still more work to be done.

Following the report's launch, the Minister for Women and Equality wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer raising the issue of tax relief on discrete receipts from lap-dancing establishments.

Through the Policing and Crime Bill, currently before Parliament, we will give greater powers to local authorities and local communities to control the opening and regulation of lap-dancing clubs. This means lap-dancing clubs will no longer be licensed under the Licensing Act 2003 but will be licensed as 'sex establishments'.

The Government will continue to work with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), as well as with employers, to ensure enforcement of the Sex Discrimination Act and to promote equality in the workplace.