Clause 118

Part of Equality Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 1:00 pm on 25 June 2009.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mark Harper Mark Harper Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) 1:00, 25 June 2009

I shall speak briefly. I had not intended to speak at all, but I am afraid that the Solicitor-General provoked me this morning in the Chamber, at women and equality questions, when she implied that we did not think that we should do anything about the gender pay gap. We said at length when we debated an earlier clause that we acknowledged that there was a problem. We simply disagreed about the solutions. Amendment 17, as best we could draft it, would put our policy into the Bill. That is why we tabled it. My hon. Friend the Member for Weston-super-Mare said that we did not want to spend a long time discussing the amendment because the issue had a thorough airing when we debated the earlier clause. I think that all members of the Committee would agree with that. However, given what the Solicitor-General said in the Chamber, I want to remind the Committee that we think that this is a problem that needs solving; we simply disagree with the Government about the nature of the solution. We discussed that issue thoroughly and I am sure that we shall return to it at later stages and in the other place. I think that that is all that needs to be said.