Midlothian MP supports ethnicity pay gap reporting

Owen Thompson MP called for ethnicity pay gap reporting to be made a legal requirement, to make sure all workers are treated fairly and equally.
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The Midlothian MP was speaking after attending a Unison campaign event on Ethnicity Pay Gap Reporting which took place at the UK Parliament.

A Unison survey of NHS staff found there were key differences between Band 1 and Band 2 staff who identified as black and those who identified as belonging to white groups, with a fifth of black respondents having used payday loans compared to nine per cent of white respondents. In addition, research from the Resolution Foundation estimates the ethnicity pay gap cost 1.9 million black workers £3.2 billion in lost wages in 2018.

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He said: “We have a long way to go on fair pay, but one important step is to tackle the ethnicity pay gap. Nobody should struggle on poverty wages and we know BAME workers are at greater risk, with a discrepancy in pay between BAME workers and other groups. In order to tackle this inequality, it needs to be better measured and understood.

Owen Thompson MP at the Unison event.Owen Thompson MP at the Unison event.
Owen Thompson MP at the Unison event.

“Just like the gender pay gap, we need to gather the facts on the ethnicity pay gap in order to raise awareness and start fixing the problem. With the mechanisms already in place, measuring this pay gap should be a relatively simple step, so the lack of progress from the UK Government is baffling. The Women and Equality Committee have already done much of their homework – they published a report in February that provided evidence of the need for ethnicity pay gap reporting and how any challenges could be tackled.

Mr Thompson has called for more progress from the UK Government to bring forward the necessary legislation to measure progress on tackling this discrepancy, similar to that which already is in place for the gender pay gap. He is also writing to Midlothian Council to request they consider adopting ethnicity pay gap reporting locally.

He added: "I support the Unison led campaign and call for the UK Government to take this forward, but I urge Midlothian Council not to wait. They could look at adopting ethnicity pay gap reporting locally now. I will be writing to the new SNP led council to see if they will investigate this option.”