With public sector employers having to make the longest and deepest cuts since the second world war, will the Minister recognise the role of trade union environment representatives in helping to achieve energy, water and waste savings? Can he assure me that managers in his Department regularly discuss and monitor environmental cost savings at joint union-management meetings?
I assure the hon. Lady that such matters are taken up. The general secretary of the Trades Union Congress wrote to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State recently about the trade union sustainable development advisory committee, wanting reassurance that the Government will continue with that organisation, which links employees with government regarding ideas for sustainable working methods. My right hon. Friend wrote back to Brendan Barber this week to say that my noble Friend Lord Henley will chair that committee in future. We certainly will be taking forward these issues forward in government.
I welcome the ministerial team to the Front Bench. It is good to see someone with some farming experience finally putting forward the case on behalf of DEFRA. Will the Minister confirm that in these difficult times, when decisions have to be made regarding cuts, consideration will be given to the Agricultural Wages Board, as its task could be dealt with through the national minimum wage procedure?
I can confirm that the future of the Agricultural Wages Board is being considered as part of the whole review of arm's length bodies and non-departmental public bodies, and that there will be an announcement soon.