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PM vows to close the gender pay gap

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Prime Minister David Cameron

British Prime Minister David Cameron vows to close the gender pay gap and claims the new National Living Wage is a crucial step to help the low paid jobs….reports Asian Lite News

Prime Minister David Cameron addressing the press at No 10 Downing Street (File)
Prime Minister David Cameron addressing the press at No 10 Downing Street (File)

“The new National Living Wage, which starts next April at £7.20 and will reach over £9 by 2020, will primarily help women – who tend to be in lower paid jobs – and will help close the gender pay gap,” Cameron said.

“The National Living Wage was part of a Budget in which the government made clear its commitment to rebalancing the economy by moving from a high-welfare, high-tax, low-pay economy into a lower-welfare, lower-tax, higher-pay society.”

The government announces new measures to tackle the gender gap. The steps includ making every company with more than 250 employees will have to publish the difference between the average pay of their male and female employees

A consultation will look at the detail of how the new gender pay gap regulations will be designed, including what, where and when information will be published. It will also seek views on what more can be done to encourage girls to consider the widest range of careers, support parents returning to work and help women of all ages reach their full potential and have the security of a well-paid job

Writing in the Times today, the Prime Minister said: Today I’m announcing a really big move: we will make every single company with 250 employees or more publish the gap between average female earnings and average male earnings. That will cast sunlight on the discrepancies and create the pressure we need for change, driving women’s wages up.

“This goes back to what we announced at the Budget last week. Our aim is to fundamentally rebalance our economy – to transform Britain from a high-welfare, high-tax, low-pay economy into a lower-welfare, lower-tax, higher-pay society. Higher pay is something we want for everyone. That is why the Chancellor announced the National Living Wage, which starts next April at £7.20 and will reach over £9 by 2020. This will primarily help women, who tend to be in lower paid jobs. It will help close the gender pay gap. But we need to go further, and that’s why introducing gender pay audits is so important.

“Transparency, skills, representation, affordable childcare – these things can end the gender pay gap in a generation. That’s my goal.

“This government is providing a wide programme of support for women in the workplace, introducing 30 hours of free childcare, 20.6 million employees now able to benefit from flexible working, and the new careers service putting businesses in the lead and showing schoolgirls that no profession is off limits.

As part of the Budget, the Chancellor announced a further £1.1 million to help women take full advantage of all the opportunities that superfast broadband can bring to business – and today the government has announced the 16 successful local broadband projects across England which will deliver the scheme.

The new initiative comes as the UK’s FTSE 100 has reached the Lord Davies’ target of 25% of board positions being filled by women – set in 2011.

Secretary of State for Education, and Minister for Women and Equalities, Nicky Morgan said: I am delighted that we have hit the target so that women now make up 25% of all FTSE 100 company boards. But while I am proud of the progress made, there can be no room for complacency when it comes to securing equality for women.

That is why today, we are committing to eliminating the gender pay gap in a generation. This is not just the right thing to do, it makes good business sense: supporting women to fulfil their potential could increase the size of our economy by 35%. To achieve gender equality we need to continue to inspire young women and girls so that they can compete with the best in the world for the top jobs – and see that their hard work will pay off.

John Allan, National Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses, said: Our research shows growing numbers of women are choosing to start-up in business, and there are more women directors than ever before. To help support this trend we need to keep up the momentum and break down the remaining barriers that prevent women progressing in the workplace and the boardroom, and so we welcome, and look forward to taking part in, the government’s gender pay gap consultation.

“In the past, low wages have been one such barrier, discouraging many women from applying for roles. As the economy continues to recover, our research shows a clear trend of more and more small firms raising pay, with over half of our members already paying all of their staff the living wage or above. In addition, more small employers are offering flexible working opportunities to their staff, enabling parents to balance family life with pursuing a rewarding career.

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