§ Mrs. Mahon
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the reduction in the planned growth budget for the Equal Opportunities Commission. 
§ Ms Hewitt
[holding answer 29 April 2004]: My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has rightly set targets for all government departments to achieve spending efficiencies.
My Department, like others. seeks to deliver its demanding objectives as efficiently as possible. I set similarly high standards for our Agencies and non-departmental public bodies, including the Equal Opportunities Commission. I have therefore asked the EOC to make a reduction in its budget for 2005–06 and 2006–07. I am confident that the EOC will meet the challenge of reducing its operational costs while continuing its excellent work of promoting gender equality in 21stcentury Britain.