Equal Pay: Seven male Tory MPs vote against bill to make big companies reveal gender pay gap

The bill was overwhelmingly backed by MPs

Heather Saul
Tuesday 16 December 2014 16:46 GMT
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Gemma Arterton (C) holds a placard outside the Houses of Parliament to mark the tabling of the motion on equal pay
Gemma Arterton (C) holds a placard outside the Houses of Parliament to mark the tabling of the motion on equal pay (EPA)

Seven male Tory MPs voted against a bill to make big companies reveal their gender pay gap, it has been revealed.

The Equal Pay (Transparency) Bill was overwhelmingly backed by MPs in a symbolic Commons vote today.

The Labour-backed bill called for employers with more than 250 staff to be made to publish information showing the difference between male and female pay were passed by 258 votes to eight, majority 250.

However, seven MPs voted against the bill and one formally abstained.

Tory Matthew Offord (Hendon) formally abstained by voting in both lobbies.

Labour MP Sarah Champion (Rotherham) brought the measures forward on a Ten Minute Rule motion which means they are unlikely to become law without Government backing due to a lack of parliamentary time.

Labour's analysis of the Office for National Statistics' annual survey of hours and earnings show that over a career, from the age of 22 to 64, a woman earned an average of £209,976 less than men.

The Bill would bring into effect measures in the 2010 Equality Act which were not implemented by the coalition Government. As part of it, companies would be asked to publish the difference between male and female pay.

Ms Champion said the Government had failed to address the issue and stressed that the measure was not about naming and shaming companies.

The backbencher insisted that publishing the information would place a responsibility on employers to obey the law on equal pay and take steps to reduce the gender pay gap.

She said: "Pay transparency will push companies to focus on the reasons why the pay gap still exists.

"This isn't about naming and shaming, about telling companies what to do or micromanaging them, it's simply about changing the emphasis.

"Pay transparency places the responsibility on employers to be actively conscious of the law on equal pay and have policies to address the gap."

Additional reporting by PA

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