London Mayor Ken Livingstone urges equality legislation to close gender pay gap

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has again urged the government to introduce tough new equality legislation following a report that found the capital’s gender pay gap is higher than that of the UK as a whole.

Speaking at the launch of the fourth Women in London’s Economy report, Livingstone warned that failure to do so will have a serious impact on London’s future economic growth.

The report revealed that on average, women in London continue to earn almost a quarter less than their male counterparts, with women in the private sector worst affected. London still has a higher gender pay gap at 23% than the UK as a whole (17%).

Although the number of companies voluntarily undertaking equal pay reviews has increased, the majority of private firms in the capital continued to keep their pay records under wraps, the report found.

Livingstone said: “It is unacceptable that women in London continue to be paid and valued less than their male counterparts. This is why we need the Single Equality Act – self-regulation is not enough.

“For a considerable time, I have advocated mandatory pay audits as a way to close the gender pay gap, stronger enforcement of pregnancy discrimination legislation, and mandatory equality procurement – all of which have already been implemented by the Greater London Authority.”

It follows a report earlier in the week which found that female professionals suffer from “occupational downgrading” after becoming mothers.

A survey published in the Economic Journal, the journal of the Royal Economic Society, found that female workers who are not offered flexible or part-time hours to look after their families are forced to take part-time jobs where their skills and qualifications are not fully utilised.

The survey of showed a third of female corporate managers slid down the career ladder after having children.

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