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Home Speeches Oral Women and Equalities Questions - House of Commons - 2nd February 2017

Oral Women and Equalities Questions - House of Commons - 2nd February 2017

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Sir Simon Burns (Chelmsford) (Con)

Given that it is now 42 years since Barbara Castle’s Equal Pay Act, why is there any gender pay gap, not only for 30 and 40-year-olds but for people in their teens, twenties, fifties and sixties?

Mr Speaker

I thought it was 47 years this year, but maybe my maths is wrong. It was certainly a long time ago.

Sir Simon Burns

Wasn’t it 1975?

Mr Speaker

I thought it was 1970. [Interruption.] Anyway, we are agreed that it is a long-standing statute.

Caroline Dinenage

Yes, I think we can all agree that it has been a long old time. My right hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Sir Simon Burns) is right to point this out. We have legislation that stops people being paid differently for doing the same job, but what drives the gender pay gap is the fact that girls tend to go into lower paid sectors than men and, of course, the pay gap really kicks in at around 30 and 40 when women leave work to have children and may not be supported back into the workplace as well as we would want. That is why gender pay gap reporting is so vital.

Mr Speaker

We are all now better informed.