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Women in Construction

Volume 740: debated on Thursday 16 November 2023

10. If the Board will take steps to support the development of skills and creation of opportunities for women in construction through the restoration and renewal programme. (900096)

Before I answer the question, Mr Speaker, can I say how nice it is to see the former Second Clerk of the Administration Committee by your side? Our loss is your gain. We always knew he would go far, and I am sure he has further to go.

The R&R programme is committed to embedding equality, diversity and inclusion so that people from all backgrounds working on the programme can thrive. Although the main construction works are still set to be some years away, the delivery authority is establishing or exploring relationships with skills and training providers across the whole UK that support initiatives to promote women in the construction industry. The programme also actively supports a number of awareness initiatives that encourage women into construction and engineering.

It is welcome that, during the work on the Elizabeth Tower, it was a common sight to see women in hard hats working on the scaffolding and other parts of that important, high-profile work. As we move through the restoration and renewal work, it has been my observation that women in hard hats are more likely to be seen directing traffic around the estate than undertaking this crucial frontline construction work.

Will my hon. Friend meet me and Kath Moore, the excellent chief executive of Women into Construction, to make sure that women are at the heart of the high-profile construction work being undertaken on Parliament’s restoration and renewal programme?

Of course I will meet my hon. Friend and Kath Moore, but before that my hon. Friend and I shall sit down to work up a list of other people for Kath Moore to meet so that she can have a really constructive engagement as Women into Construction’s representative across the House. I would also like to invite her to come to the Administration Committee to talk about the work of her organisation. [Interruption.]

I also want to say what an honour it is to be answering questions on behalf of the Restoration and Renewal Client Board in addition to the Commission—two fabulous bodies led by you, Mr Speaker.