The gender pay gap in the public sector is 18.3%, which is a record low, and this compares to 24.5% in the private sector.
I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for those comments. Will she explain how the new duty introduced by this Government, requiring public sector bodies to publish the differences between male and female pay, will support the trend of an ever-reducing gender pay gap, which is at a record low?
The new duty we have introduced will mean more transparency, so we will be able to find out where the particular issues are in the public sector. Are there, for example, occupations such as engineering that are well paid and that women are less likely to go into, and what can we do to encourage women to apply for roles in them?
The chief executive of Virgin Money, Jayne-Anne Gadhia, has this morning given evidence to the Treasury Committee on the Treasury’s women in finance charter—she is the Government’s women in finance champion. Ministers will know that one way of tackling the gender pay gap is to ensure that we have more women in senior roles, so will the Chief Secretary urge the Chancellor to reply to the letter I wrote to him last week about appointments to the Bank of England, where more senior women are needed, because the evidence this morning shows the importance of role models?
First, I congratulate my right hon. Friend on her work to promote these issues that she did as Women’s Minister. It would be great to see other professions, such as legal services, looking at the success of the women in finance charter and seeing what they could do. I will urge my colleague to reply to my right hon. Friend’s letter asap.
In addition to the gender pay gap, the disability pay gap remains extraordinarily high, yet disabled people are not mentioned in the Government’s industrial strategy. When will we harness the potential of disabled people in our economy and create policies that effectively show that?
The hon. Lady is absolutely right to highlight the issue of making sure that disabled people have a full opportunity to participate in the economy. The fact is that we are missing out on huge amounts of talent—the talent of disabled people, women and older people—in our economy. We need to unleash that to help our country to become more productive, and also for the sake of those people, who have so much to contribute.