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Parliamentary candidates should have a legal right to time off work to campaign, and parties should offer bursaries to would-be MPs from poorer backgrounds, a think tank says.  The Institute for Government’s report said Westminster was ‘overwhelmingly white, male and middle-class’. Just one fifth of MPs are women and 27 out of 650 are from ethnic minorities.

The report argued that improved selection methods were only part of the answer.  ‘The problem is increasingly not overt or covert discrimination within political parties, but the lack of women applying to become candidates in the first place. The same is true for other under-represented groups.  Parties need to focus on increasing the supply of aspiring parliamentary candidates by removing some of the barriers to participation, including the high cost and time commitments, which act as a significant deterrent to candidates from non-traditional backgrounds.’  (BBC, 14th November 2011)

Tarmac is a company that has long realized how the business benefits from having a diverse workforce.  Its people are recognized as a critical resource: drawing on the widest available pool of talent ensures that Tarmac has the skills and abilities to build and sustain competitive advantage.

Tarmac operates in the heavy buildings materials industry which has traditionally had a workforce of older, male employees. This is changing.  Tarmac pursues a strategy of inclusion which is led directly from CEO level.  This means it is creating a culture that values the differences between people. This strategy not only enables the company to use people effectively, but its focus on training, supporting and engaging people also helps the company to recruit and retain quality employees.  This adds value to the business and contributes to achieving its mission.

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