A BILL by Mid and West AM Helen Mary Jones has been selected for debate later this month (Wednesday 11 March).

Plaid Cymru AM Helen Mary Jones put forward the bill for debate in the Senedd that is intended to create a fairer economy by introducing measures to improve equality in the private sector.

The proposal is for a bill to provide an equal opportunities audit of firms in receipt of Welsh Government grants.

Shadow Minister for Economy, Tackling Poverty, and Transport, Helen Mary Jones said:

“The bill, if passed, would improve equality in the workplace. It would ensure that firms in receipt of Welsh Government grants would have to provide an equal opportunities audit of their company.

“The Welsh Government invests a great deal and spends even more of Welsh taxpayers money in the private sector.

“In addition to ensuring good value for money of that spend, we should be ensuring the Welsh public purse supports those companies that can demonstrate best practice in the promotion of equal opportunities for their staff.

“We should be able to be sure that our money is not being used to support or subsidise bad practice.

“My proposed legislation would ensure that, in future, Welsh Ministers would incorporate an equality audit with their other due diligence practice when letting contracts or making investments.

“It would build on the strong legislative foundations we have for equalities here in Wales. We all realise, however, that there is still inequality that impacts on women’s lives across our nation.

“Women are forced into mainly low-paid, part-time work and they continue to take on the majority of unpaid care. Violence and harassment continue to blight our society and in some cases, particularly online, appears to be getting worse.

“Discrimination is rife for many women, and some remain at a greater risk of poverty and isolation.

“Why do I think the Welsh Government should take this issue seriously? The cost of inequality is not just felt by women, but also by the Welsh economy.

“Research by equality organisation Chwarae Teg found that £13.6 billion could be added to the economy of Wales by 2028 if we achieved gender equality.

“My legislation, if passed, would be a step in the right direction for a fairer economy and to improve equality measures for all.”

“The purpose of the bill would be to improve and encourage equal opportunities in the private sector in Wales, and build on the findings of the Fair Work Commission.”

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