HC Deb 25 February 1988 vol 128 c436
14. Ms. Mowlam

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many replies he has received to his request for observations on the draft Sex Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order.

Mr. Viggers

The answer is 27.

Ms. Mowlam

Will the Minister state his own commitment to equal opportunities for woman in Northern Ireland, and will he amend the draft order so that it is in line with European legislation?

Mr. Viggers

The Government are committed to equality of opportunity in Northern Ireland, as in the rest of the United Kingdom. We think it right, however, that promotion of equality of opportunity in relation to gender in Northern Ireland should be handled as it is in the rest of the United Kingdom.

As for our own commitment in Northern Ireland, I am pleased to inform the hon. Lady that funding compares very favourably with that of the Equal Opportunities Commission in Great Britain. It was increased by 11 per cent. in the year before last, and by 9 per cent. in the current year.