Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, has called on the Government to do more to close the gender pay gap, as new research by the Labour Party revealed that the gap in the North West will not close until at least 2070.
The analysis to mark Equal Pay Day shows progress on the gender pay gap has stalled significantly under Boris Johnson’s Conservatives, with ten million women across the UK now projected to work until retirement without equal pay – up from 8.5 million a year ago. A regional breakdown of the figures shows that the gender pay gap in the North West won’t close for another 49 years. It means an 18-year-old-woman entering employment in the region today will have to wait until she turns 67 before the gender pay gap closes.
Reacting to the figures, Labour’s Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary Annaliese Dodds MP has accused the Conservatives of “failing an entire generation of women in the North West”. Gwynne has called the figures “an indictment of the Government’s lack of meaningful action”
While progress to close the gender pay gap has gone into reverse under the Conservatives, Labour has pledged urgent action to close it by:
- Modernising equal pay legislation to allow for equal pay comparisons across employers where men and women are carrying out comparable work.
- Enforcing the requirement to report and eliminate pay gaps, with employers required to devise and implement plans to eradicate these inequalities.
- Ensuring outsourced workers are included in employers’ gender pay gap reporting and pay ratio reporting.
- Introducing mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting for firms with more than 250 staff, to mirror gender pay gap reporting rules.
The figures come as women continue to struggle with the hugely unequal impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The gender pay gap increased by 13% between April 2020 and April 2021, when women were more likely to be furloughed, more likely to lose income to home-school, and more likely to work in sectors that are expected to see the slowest economic recovery from the crisis.
Commenting on the figures, Andrew Gwynne said:
“These figures are an indictment of the Government’s lack of meaningful action on tackling the gender pay gap.
It is frankly unbelievable that in 2021, we are still so far off from closing the gap and making sure that women are paid equally. How can we think it is acceptable that women in the North West will only see their pay reach the same level as men by 2070?
We need to modernise equal pay legislation and work with employers to ensure that we eliminate pay gaps. We cannot consign another generation of women to this injustice.”
Anneliese Dodds MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, added:
“The Conservative Government should be taking action to close the gender pay gap. Instead it’s standing by while progress has gone into reverse.
“It’s clear that the Conservatives are failing an entire generation of women in the North West. Labour would take urgent action to close the gender pay gap by giving women the ability to compare their salaries with men doing the same job in a different firm and forcing employers to bring forward plans to eradicate pay gaps.”