MP CAROLINE ANSELL: More needs to be done to close gender pay gap

Caroline Ansell, MP for Eastbourne SUS-160224-134501001
Caroline Ansell, MP for Eastbourne SUS-160224-134501001

Figures came through last week about the gender pay gap here in Eastbourne and Willingdon, and they make for interesting reading.

Against a national backdrop where men are still earning some 19 per cent more than women on average, locally that trend is reversed, and women actually earn 7.4 per cent more than men!

Whilst this may buck the national trend, I still believe that nationally more needs to be done to narrow the gender pay gap.

Although the news in Eastbourne shows a gap the other way, which is very unusual, the fact is women across the UK fare very badly.

While the gender pay gap is the lowest on record at 19.2 per cent - any gap is too great and we must now take further action to close it.

To address this problem, I fully support the Prime Minister’s pledge to cut this gap within a generation.

Expecting all companies with more than 250 employees to publish their gender pay gap on their website – including their bonus gap – is a start to get this job done and I very much support this and the producing of league tables by sector so there is true transparency.

In Eastbourne, I know that many companies operate family friendly policies that may help women into better paid work but in the months to come I will be investigating the reasons for this unusual state of affairs regarding women’s pay to see if there is something here in Eastbourne that could be replicated in other parts of the country.

According to the latest data, the figures for the rest of East Sussex are interesting as well.

In Hastings and Rye men earn 14.7 per cent more than women, and in Wealden it’s over 20 per cent. Lewes is 12.7 per cent, Bexhill and Battle is on 13.5 per cent, and only Brighton Kemptown join Eastbourne have a figure of women earning higher than men, albeit it lower than us at 3.5 per cent.

I find this fascinating.

We have some superb local companies who celebrate all that women bring to the workforce, and it’s clear their businesses are benefitting as a result.

Recently Eastbourne was one of the highest in the entire country of the percentage of company directors who were female.

As MP, I intend the encourage all these good news stories to continue, although it must also be said that in Eastbourne, pay for both genders is lagging behind other areas in the south east and that is something that needs to be addressed as well.

I will as always be interested in your views, and you can contact me on caroline.ansell.mp@parliament.uk