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Portsmouth MP slams government as new figures reveal gender pay gap in South East won’t close until 2046

Stephen Morgan MP has slammed the government as new analysis reveals the gender pay gap in the South East won’t close until 2046.

The analysis to mark Equal Pay Day shows progress on the gender pay gap has stalled significantly under the Conservative government, with ten million women across the UK now projected to work until retirement without seeing equal pay – up from 8.5 million a year ago.

A regional breakdown of the figures shows that the gender pay gap in the South East won’t close for another 25 years. It means an 18-year-old woman entering employment in the region today will have to wait until she turns 43 before the gender pay gap closes.

Reacting to the figures, Labour’s Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary Anneliese Dodds MP has accused the Conservatives of “failing an entire generation of women in the South East.”

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.

In the eight years of Labour Government between 2002 and 2010, the gender pay gap narrowed by just over 7%.

The member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“Women in Portsmouth and across the region will find it absurd that the gender pay gap isn’t projected to close in their area until 2046.

“The Conservative Government should be taking action to close the gender pay gap. Instead, it’s standing by while progress has gone into reverse, with women in Portsmouth facing a 25 year-wait just to be paid what a man does for the same work.

“It’s clear that the Conservatives are failing an entire generation of women in Portsmouth. 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.”