§ Rev. Martin Smyth
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what measures he plans to bring forward to promote equality of employment through affirmative action ; what is his definition of affirmative action ; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Viggers
[holding answer 13 November 1987]: As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland announced in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton (Dr. Twinn) on 15 July 1987 at columns 490–1, we are preparing legislative and other measures to promote equality of opportunity. Affirmative action was defined in the guide to effective practice, published on 15 September by the Department of Economic Development, asthose special measures that an employer can take to promote more representative distribution of employment in the workforce in the event of the existing representation of either the Protestant or the Roman Catholic community being less than might reasonably be expected".
The guide, a copy of which was placed in the Library of the House, provides examples of the kind of measures envisaged.