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Topical Questions

Volume 731: debated on Wednesday 26 April 2023

Last week, we published a report on the substantial progress we have made in delivering our groundbreaking Inclusive Britain action plan to tackle unfair ethnic disparities. Just one year after we launched the action plan, we fulfilled 32 of the 74 commitments, including issuing voluntary guidance for employers on how to measure and address ethnicity pay gaps, and I will report back to Parliament in 12 months’ time on the progress we have made on delivering the remaining actions to build a stronger, fairer and more united society.

I thank my right hon. Friend for her answer. While I fully understand the need for protected places for women—I totally support that—and the issues when it comes to sports, I am growing increasingly concerned that trans people are becoming demonised in some quarters. What is the Secretary of State doing to protect the interests and the very nature of genuine trans people?

I want to emphasise that the Government believe in the principle of individual liberty and in the humanity and dignity of every person, and in everything we do we want to make sure that we take the toxicity out of the debate. A lot of the demonisation is happening out there on social media. We have a responsibility to make sure that all trans people have that dignity and are looked after.

In terms of other things we are doing, NHS England is working to expand clinical capacity in adult gender identity services by establishing new pilot clinics rooted in primary care and sexual health services. Four of those new clinics have opened since 2020 and a fifth is opening this year. They will be able to provide a lot of the healthcare that trans people need.

T2. New research from the Living Wage Foundation shows that over 2 million women in the UK earn below the real living wage and that women are more likely to be trapped in low-paid, insecure and precarious jobs. Will the Minister work with Cabinet colleagues to ensure that their work actually pays, by introducing a real living wage and strengthening protection for workers on zero-hours contracts? [R] (904651)

I thank the hon. Gentleman for raising the issue of women being able to progress and do well in work. That is why the Department for Work and Pensions has a focus on in-work progression, giving women who have childcare, training or other needs in particular the support they need to progress and thrive in work.

T7. We know that between half a million and a million people in the UK are using steroids, particularly to improve their body image. Some studies show that this is even more prolific in the gay community, with usage up to six times higher than among their straight counterparts. Will the Department work with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department of Health and Social Care to commission a study of anabolic steroid use in the UK? (904657)

I commend my hon. Friend for the extensive work that he has done in this important area. I absolutely agree with his analysis, and as a DCMS Minister and the Minister for Equalities, I can assure him that I will be taking a keen interest in this area of work.

T3. The Ministry of Justice has made welcome changes on transgender prisoners, excluding those guilty of not only sexual offences but violent offences from the general women’s estate, as well as those who are still physically male, and so accepting the vulnerability of females on the basis of sex at birth. Does the Minister accept the need, not just in justice institutions but across other Departments, for both single-sex spaces and single-sex services, based on the criterion of sex at birth? (904652)

Yes, of course safety must come first. Although it is true that more than 90% of transgender women prisoners are in the male estate, it is right that we have further strengthened our policy for those who have committed sexual or violent offences, and for those who retain their birth genitalia, who can be housed elsewhere only in truly exceptional circumstances, on a case-by-case basis.