Sunderland MP backs campaign for equal pay for women

HITTING OUT: Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott.
HITTING OUT: Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott.
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A SUNDERLAND MP is backing the equal pay for women campaign.

Julie Elliott voted in favour of a House of Commons Bill to force companies which employ more than 250 staff to publish their gender pay gap each year.

The Ten Minute Rule motion has little chance of getting enough parliamentary time to become law, but was approved by MPs by 258 votes to eight.

Seven male Tory MPs were among those who voted against it.

“Women and their families across Sunderland Central will be wondering why the Tories and Lib Dems failed to back equal pay for millions of women across Britain,” said Ms Elliott. “Women in Sunderland shouldn’t have to wait another generation for equal pay.

“Pay transparency will shine a light on the problem and help employers to close the pay gap once and for all.

“This Government might not be prepared to act but I am proud that a Labour Government will.”

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

Women earn 81p for every £1 earned by men, according to the statisics.

Among those backing the campaign is former Bond girl Gemma Arterton, after it was revealed stars Jennifer Lawrence and Amy McAdams were paid less than their male co-stars in the Sony Pictures film American Hustle.

“It is lagging behind the times,” said Ms Arterton. “I think there’s something interesting in that we don’t like to talk about what we earn because it’s not the done thing.

“But actually we should because then we can say: ‘hang on a minute – that’s not right’, and challenge it.

“That’s part of the reason equal pay is not in place, because we are shy to speak up.

“That’s why, if we can get companies to publish pay gaps we will be able to see for ourselves.

“Every woman, and anyone who has a woman in their lives, should be giving their support to equal pay for all.”