Rother Valley MP Sir Kevin Barron column: Women have the right to equal pay

Pictured Kevin Barron
Pictured Kevin Barron
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In Parliament this week I voted to introduce pay transparency across large companies. The measure will require companies which employ over 250 staff to publish their own gender pay gap in their annual report.

Despite the motion being voted through, the Government indicated that it did not intend to make pay transparency the law. Shockingly women still earn an average 81p for every pound earned by men, despite the Equal Pay Act being passed 44 years ago.

New analysis of official figures shows that because of the gender pay gap, women earn an average £209,976 less over their lifetime than men.

Women and their families across our area will be wondering why some MPs failed to back equal pay for millions of women across Britain. Women shouldn’t have to wait another generation for equal pay. Pay transparency will shine a light on the problem and help employers to close the pay gap once and for all.

Charities and voluntary organisations across Rotherham do a great job supporting our communities. Yet I know from talking to volunteer and charity staff that things are getting harder not easier under this Government.

As people struggle to get by their reliance on voluntary organisations is growing, as many are called on to plug the gaps caused by this Government.

At the same time we have seen an unprecedented attack on the sector from Ministers stinging from the criticism they have received from charities campaigning for the vulnerable. The Lobbying Act and changes to judicial review have tried to gag charities standing up for the people they represent.

Charities play a vital role offering opportunities for people to volunteer, learn new skills or gain confidence, feel supported and valued. I would like to see a new approach for the voluntary sector, protecting and enhancing the voice of charities by repealing the Lobbying Act and giving the sector a seat at the table when local decisions are taken. This could be done by supporting the people who make charities a success by helping more people to volunteer by removing the barriers they face.

The Prime Minister came to office hailing the Big Society, but after four years we have learnt his vision was a sham. Renewing the partnership with the voluntary sector will support it to flourish.

This Sunday (21 December) I am pleased to be attending the Christmas carol services at St Leonard’s Church in Dinnington and All Saints Church in Laughton. I would like to pay tribute to everyone who carries out work to help our local communities throughout the year and especially over the festive period.

I recently attended an event to help support Care2Save.co.uk, the newly launched shopping website that will help raise funds for local charities when people shop online.

The charity owned and run site offers over 12 million products from over 2,000 UK-based High Street retailers, giving 100% of the money that it makes through commission directly to the charity sector.

80 per cent of the commission generated through each purchase goes to a registered charity of the shopper’s choice, and the remaining 20 per cent goes to the Care2Save Charitable Trust, which supports hospice and palliative care in the UK and globally.

Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice and Rotherham Hospice both stand to benefit from the work of the Care2Save Charitable Trust. For more information please visit www.care2save.co.uk

Due to this year’s Christmas calendar, I am holding a surgery on Saturday 20th December at my constituency office in Dinnington. There will be no surgery on Saturday 27th December.