HC Deb 21 February 1966 vol 725 cc19-20
37. Sir W. Bromley-Davenport

asked the Minister of Labour when he proposes to implement Her Majesty's Government's policy of equal pay for equal work between men and women; whether he proposes to await the report of the Departmental working party examining the question; whether he will urge the committee to report without delay; and when the necessary legislation will be introduced.

Mr. Gunter

I would refer the hon. and gallant Gentleman to the reply given to the hon. Member for Clapham (Mrs. McKay) on 31st January.

Sir W. Bromley-Davenport

Can the right hon. Gentleman say approximately what would be the extra cost to industry if the principle of equal pay were put into effect? Would it add to inflation? How would it affect the wages and in- comes policy of Her Majesty's Government?

Mr. Gunter

One of the great problems in answering that question is that it has been highlighted that none of us is sure what is meant by equal pay for equal work. It means different things in different parts of the world. The purpose of the discussions with the T.U.C. and the C.B.I. is to arrive at a formula on these matters. The cost would depend on how that formula was interpreted, how it was implemented and how long it took, whether it was in part or in full and whether this way or that. Nobody can give a clear answer on what it would cost.

Mr. Rankin

In view of the fact that this system operates efficiently within Parliament, is there any reason why it should not operate with equal efficiency outside?

Mr. Gunter

Yes. Matters are a little more simple in this House than in industry and that is why it makes a difference.