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House of Commons Hansard
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13 December 2016
Volume 618
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5. What assessment he has made of trends in the number of women on boards. [907820]

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The proportion of women on FTSE 100 boards has increased from 12.5% in 2011 to 27%. Since 2011, the number of women on FTSE 350 boards has more than doubled to 23.5%. We support the business-led target of 33% of those on FTSE 350 boards being women by 2020.

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I welcome the Minister’s response, but to get more women on boards we have to get more women into business in the first place. I championed and spoke at the Wayfinder Woman conference in Uckfield. The mission of the Sussex-based organisation is to get more women into business. What work do the Government do with such organisations to get women into enterprise so that they get the skills that they need to rise to the top?

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I congratulate my hon. Friend on all the work she does to mentor women. More than 16,500 start-up loans have been issued to female entrepreneurs and almost half the users of the business support helpline are women. The Hampton-Alexander review is looking beyond boards at building female pipelines among senior management. We also support the Women’s Business Council.

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Is there a regional pattern in low numbers of women on boards? Will the Minister outline what discussions have taken place with ministerial colleagues in the devolved Administrations about increasing the number of women on boards?

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I welcome the hon. Lady’s commitment to increasing the number of women on boards in Scotland. I will have discussions with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland to ensure that the national target applies equally to Scotland as to elsewhere in the United Kingdom.