Women in Leeds NW still earn on average just 81p for every pound a man earns. The UK Gender Pay Gap in the UK is still higher than in most other EU countries.

That’s why the last Labour government passed the Equality Act in 2010.
The incoming LibDem/Tory Coalition ditched elements of that act
– including the requirement that larger companies publish figures on their pay gap.

This week Leeds NW Labour Candidate, Alex Sobel, has written to Vince Cable, the LibDem Business Sceretary, demanding to know why the Government continues to block action on equal pay.

Before Christmas, on the 16th December, MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of measures for pay transparency – measures that would see big companies (with over 250 staff) publish their gender pay gap. However the Government has so far refused to implement it.

Our own LibDem MP, Greg Mulholland failed to vote on 16 December – yet another instance of his absence from key votes at Westminster.

The campaign for pay transparency is being led by Labour in Parliament.
It’s being supported by leading employers including PricewaterhouseCoopers – who are one of just 5 companies known to voluntarily publish their pay gap.

Pay transparency for large employers was originally included by Labour in the Equality Act (2010) (section 78) but ditched by the Conservatives and LibDems on entering Government. The measure is widely viewed as a way to stimulate action on the causes of the gender pay gap.

An incoming Labour government would restore the requirement for pay transparency.
But on 16 December Labour started a process to hasten that on. It was, after all, a measure passed by Parliament in 2010.

Tories and Lib Dems will next have an opportunity to support pay transparency on February 27th when the Government have another chance to support the proposal.

Alex Sobel has already made clear his strong commitment to decent wages – promising to campaign for the universal Living Wage – making a personal pledge on the pay and conditions of anyone he employs as an MP – including ‘interns’- and only last week backing Unison’s call on Vince Cable to enforce the minimum wage for Care workers.

Alex has now spoken out on equal pay.

“Up and down Leeds NW women and their families will be wondering why Mr Mulholland and his Government won’t take action on equal pay.

Women across Britain are still earning on average 81p for every pound a man earns, leaving themselves and their families poorer. Pay transparency will encourage action on the pay gap.

I’ve written to the Business Secretary calling on him to support Equal Pay and get on with implementing pay transparency.

This Government has failed to use the powers Labour set out to require big companies of over 250 employees to publish their pay gap.
If this Government refuses to implement it a Labour Government will.”

Alex has written to Vince Cable along these lines – also pointing out that

‘On Tuesday 16th December Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of Labour MP Sarah Champion’s motion to introduce pay transparency under section 78 of the Equality Act 2010.

The people of Leeds NW have a right to know why you have so far failed to take action that companies themselves admit would stimulate action on closing the gender pay gap.

I understand that it is now Liberal Democrat policy to implement section 78 of the Equality Act (2010). Given this fact, and that Parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favour of the measure, is there any reason why the Government cannot implement pay transparency now?’

That overwhelming vote took place on December 16th.
Our local LibDem MP, Greg Mulholland, failed to turn up – or at least his vote is not recorded either way.

This was on Tuesday – the day after his failure to turn up on Monday 15th to vote for fairness in Firemen’s Pensions, in spite of his promise to do so – and the day before he failed to turn up on Wednesday 17 December, to vote to abolish the Bedroom Tax.

We understand he was turning on Christmas lights in Yeadon on Monday 15th.
He must have had a lot of Christmas cards to write on Tuesday and Wednesday.

We’ll be interested to see what he does on 27 February – but since that’s a Friday, and we also understand he makes a point of not being in Westminster on Fridays, we’re not holding our breath.

If you want to help elect a hardworking MP who will represent you BOTH at Westminster AND in Leeds NW – sign up here

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