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Gender Pay Gap

Volume 670: debated on Thursday 23 January 2020

I feel as though I am earning my salary this morning, Mr Speaker, which is why I am so pleased that I about to talk about the gender pay gap.

We have conducted analysis of where women face disadvantages in the workplace and are finalising sector-specific action plans. I can announce that Government Departments are leading the way by publishing their data and action plans today. We want employers to go beyond reporting data on the gender pay gap and create genuinely inclusive workplaces for everyone.

Samira Ahmed’s successful pay discrimination claim against the BBC will have far-reaching implications for other women working at the BBC who will now see their gender pay gap addressed. Samira Ahmed was only able to bring her claim because she knew what male colleagues were earning. What are the Government going to do to assist women employees of the 1.3 million small and medium-sized enterprises who are currently reliant on chance to discover whether they are subject to pay discrimination, because there is no gender pay reporting requirement?

I hope the hon. Member will understand that I cannot comment on individual cases, but I met BBC executives this week to discuss their overall approach to equal pay and the gender pay gap. I take the point about smaller businesses. We have been very clear that we need to gather data over several years to see how the approach is working—whether we are asking the right questions and whether there are other questions to be asked. We very much hope and expect that the approach to larger businesses will trickle down to smaller businesses, particularly with regard to action plans.