On Monday 9th March 2015, the Lord Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received answers to two written questions on (i) company pay differentials, and (ii) the impact of relationship breakdown on homelessness.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consideration they have given to requiring all listed companies to report annually on the ratio between the pay of chief executives and the median pay of workers in that company.
Baroness Neville-Rolfe (Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills):The Government introduced new laws comprehensively reforming the governance and reporting of company directors’ pay in October 2013. Quoted companies are now required to report the ratio of average percentage change in employee pay compared with the percentage change in the chief executive’s pay.
The Government consulted extensively on the details of the new requirements, and decided not to mandate publication of the ratio between the chief executive’s pay and average employee’s pay.
The Government welcomes transparency on remuneration, but believes that an explicit focus on this ratio could have negative unintended consequences. For example, it could incentivise companies to outsource jobs to agencies or overseas, or to employ more of the workforce on a part-time basis, in order to manipulate ratios.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to review the way in which local authorities collect data on homelessness, so as to better account for the spectrum of ways in which homelessness is manifested.
Lord Ahmad (Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Communities and Local Government):The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated Statutory Homelessness statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:
• meet identified user needs;
• are well explained and readily accessible;
• are produced according to sound methods; and
• are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest.
My hon Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Kris Hopkins) wrote to the United Kingdom Statistics Authority on 30 January 2014 inviting further assessment of the Department’s statistics, and in response to his request the Authority has committed to assessing the Department’s other statistics on homelessness covering homelessness prevention and relief, and rough sleeping.
This Government has increased spending to prevent homelessness, making over £500 million available to help the most vulnerable in society and has kept strong protections to guard families against the threat of homelessness.
Every person has the right to approach their local authority if they consider themselves homeless or at risk, and local authorities have a statutory duty to secure accommodation to all those who they decide are eligible, in priority need and not intentionally homeless, and will be counted as homeless.
Any local authority who is approached by someone they have reason to believe is homeless or threatened with homelessness must make inquiries to see whether they owe them any duty under Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996. This assessment process is important in enabling housing authorities to identify the assistance which an applicant may need either to prevent them from becoming homeless or to help them to find another home. Under section 179, authorities also have a duty to ensure that advice and information about homelessness and the prevention of homelessness are available free of charge to anyone in their district.