Preliminary programming is underway for the next financing period for European Union (EU) development assistance, covering 2014-2020. My officials are working closely with counterparts in the Commission, the European External Action Service and other member states to ensure that gender equality is fully integrated in the legal regulations and operational guidelines that form the framework for EU development programmes over that period. We want to see EU development assistance geared towards empowering girls and women, to enable them to have voice, choice and control, as we are doing in our bilateral programmes. The hon. Member for Stone's private Member's Bill, which this Government support, aims at adding further drive and focus to HMG's strong commitment to support for girls and women as part of the UK's international development effort. If passed into law we see this as a model for others, including the EU, to step up action.