§ 7. Miss Boothroyd
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has for equalising the payments made to employers through the regional employment premium for male and female workers.
§ Miss Boothroyd
Is my right hon. Friend aware that in the eyes of some hon. Members the Government are in breach of the Sex Discrimination Act and the Equal Pay Act by paying some employers 100 per cent. more premium for male workers than the premium paid for female workers doing the same jobs? Further, in view of the active concern of the Secretary of State for Industry for the industrial future of the West Midlands, will the Minister consider extending the premium to that region, where the percentage of unemployment equals the national average?
§ Mr. Dell
I note my hon. Friend's remarks about the West Midlands. We are not in breach of the Sex Discrimination Act, because Section 51 of that Act excludes activities under previous Acts and REP is paid under previous legislation. The reason why the figure is higher for male employees than it is for female employees is that in the development areas, as I am sure my hon. Friend knows, the level of male unemployment is very much more serious than the level of female unemployment. Nevertheless, this is a matter that we are considering.