§ 24. Mrs. Renée Short
asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what were the average gross annual earnings for men and women, respectively, in Great Britain in 1968.
§ Mr. Harold Walker
£1,249 and £622 respectively in the tax year 1967–68, the latest period for which annual figures are available. The figures relate to employees covered by P.A.Y.E., aged at least 18 but under the normal retirement age, who were at work for the whole year.
§ Mrs. Short
Do not these staggering figures indicate the moral basis of the case for equal pay? Is my hon. Friend aware that in the West Midlands, which is a wealthy part of the country, the average earnings for women are lower than the national average? Will he take all steps to see that the date for the implementation of equal pay is advanced as much as possible?
§ Mr. Walker
To the first part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question I would say "Yes." I have no statistical 1691 evidence whatever to support her contention about women's pay in the West Midlands. She will know that my right hon. Friend is engaged in consultations with the C.B.I, and the T.U.C. about the phasing, implementation and other matters of equal pay.
§ Mrs. Ewing
Can the hon. Gentleman give the figures for Scotland, or at least publish them in the OFFICIAL REPORT? Do not the figures that he has already given show that some cut in the phasing period must be made, as this is an injustice which cannot be tolerated for as long as is proposed?
§ Mr. Walker
I have no figures to show that the position in Scotland justifies the hon. Lady's contention.