What equality impact assessments his Department has undertaken on the Government’s policy on the public sector pay cap.
It is for Departments to consider the equalities impact of their proposals on workforce strategy and pay. The important thing is that we reward public servants fairly for the work they do.
Well, public sector servants have certainly not been rewarded fairly, but let me turn to pay differentials in the private sector. Is the Chief Secretary as concerned as I am that many private sector firms are excluding partners’ income in their reporting obligations on the gender pay gap, on the basis that they are not employees? What will the Government do to close that loophole?
We have announced new policies on reporting the private sector pay gap. The pay gap has come down under this Government and we are now seeing a record number of women in work, and the reason is that we have taken the difficult economic decision to close the deficit and ensured that we have allowed the private sector to flourish.
With inflation at 3% and Government cuts to council tax and police budgets forcing up precepts, why should low-paid workers, who are predominantly women, have an increase of only 1% next year, after four years of 1% already?
First, I point out that those on the lowest pay have seen their real wages rise by 7% since 2015, which is the highest level for some time. Also, it is women who are more likely to be in work, with record levels of employment. We have also given additional flexibility to public services to ensure that they can recruit and retain.