Workplace Activity (Natural Environment)

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 24th June 2010.

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Photo of Luciana Berger Luciana Berger Labour, Liverpool, Wavertree 10:30 am, 24th June 2010

If she will discuss with trade unions measures to reduce the adverse effect on the natural environment of workplace activity.

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Photo of Luciana Berger Luciana Berger Labour, Liverpool, Wavertree

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?

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Photo of Richard Benyon Richard Benyon The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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.

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Photo of Guy Opperman Guy Opperman Conservative, Hexham

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?

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Photo of Richard Benyon Richard Benyon The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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.

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