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Lords committee to question Vince Cable on quotas for women on boards

On Monday 7 July the House of Lords EU Sub Committee on the Internal Market, Infrastructure and Employment, will press him on the issue of whether the EU’s 40% target is appropriate or not.

Vince Cable has previously stated that quotas are a “real possibility” if the Government’s own target of 25 % for women on boards by 2015 was not met. The Committee will ask him whether the Government would still consider a quota if this target isn’t met.

The EU’s proposal to impose a minimum number of women on boards in companies across Europe is currently being negotiated in Brussels, and is expected to be a priority when the new European Parliament is up-and-running in July.

The Committee will ask Vince Cable:

&middot         Is the UK likely to reach the EU Commission’s target of 40% for the number of women on non-executive boards (or 33% of all boards) by 2020?

&middot         Do the Government intend to invoke the exemption which allows Member States to continue promoting equality through national measures if they can show that they will reach the relevant target by 2020?

&middot         Setting quotas is a form of positive discrimination, and positive discrimination is unlawful in the UK under the Equality Act 2010.  If the proposal is adopted by the Council of the European Union, what impact would this have on the Equality Act in the UK?

&middot         If the proposal is agreed in the EU Council would the Government consider challenging the proposal in the European Court of Justice?

The evidence session will start at 6.15pm on Monday 7 July in Committee Room 2 of the House of Lords.


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