Dawn speaks on the Corporate Boards (Diversity) debate on 28 October 2015

Dawn speaks on the Corporate Boards (Diversity) debate on 28 October 2015, bringing up topics including the APPG Dawn set up and an invitation for the Minister to meet with the Powerlist Foundation and Green Park.

Dawn Butler MP: I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this Adjournment debate. It is this very subject that led us to create the all-party parliamentary group on governance and inclusive leadership. Members on both sides of the House recognise how important diversity is in business and on boards, and most businesses recognise the business case for diversity. Does my hon. Friend agree?

Chuka UMUNNA MP (Lab): I could not agree more, and I very much welcome the establishment of that all-party parliamentary group. My hon. Friend mentioned the economic benefits. We are not harnessing the huge benefits that our diaspora communities in the UK can bring to the boardroom—their family connections to and cultural understanding of the emerging markets, as we seek to export more and tackle from a trade perspective a current account deficit which is the largest on record.

In response to what I have said, I call on Ministers, first, to set a target for ethnic minority representation on FTSE 100 boards to be met by 2020, so that there are no all-white boards by 2020. That is a sensible target. The 2020 campaign led by Lenny Henry, Trevor Phillips and others has suggested that. I think that is a reasonable suggestion. Secondly, in 2013 the Companies Act 2006 was amended to require companies to include a breakdown of the number of female employees on boards, in senior management positions and in the company as a whole. We should do the same for ethnicity. If businesses do not know the problem in their workplace, they cannot do anything about it. Finally, Lord Davies.

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Dawn Butler: As you are making such good points, may I invite you to attend the all-party group and listen to the Powerlist Foundation and Green Park as we collate all the information and work out how we can fix the problem?

Mr Speaker: I would welcome that privilege, but I think that it will be that of the Minister.

Anna SOUBRY (Minister of State for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise): I was just thinking that you would love to attend that, Mr Speaker. I would love to attend as well, so we will see whether that can be arranged.

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