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Labour Calls For Mandatory Ethnicity Pay Gap Reporting As Discrepancy Remains

Shadow women and equalities secretary Anneliese Dodds has called for a Race Equality Act. (Alamy)

3 min read

Labour has renewed its calls for a Race Equality Act after new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed Black people in the UK have consistently earned less than their White counterparts since 2012.

The ethnicity pay gap refers to the percentage difference between the median gross hourly earnings of five broad ethnic groups – Asian or Asian British; Black, African, Caribbean or Black British; mixed or multiple ethnic groups; and other ethnic groups – compared to White employees. 

According to the ONS, the pay gap for Black, African, Caribbean or Black British people has remained steady for a decade, with the figure at 5.6 per cent in 2012, and in 2023 at 5.7 per cent.

In 2022 the ONS found Black, African, Caribbean or Black British employees earned £13.53 median gross hourly pay while White employees earned £14.35.

The specific group with the highest disparity with their White counterparts was mixed White and Black Caribbean employees, who had a pay gap of 18.5 per cent with their median earnings at £11.75 an hour in 2022. 

Between 2012 and 2022 Black, African, Caribbean or Black British employees were the only ethnic group that consistently earned less than their White counterparts.

More broadly, the ONS found UK-born White employees earn more on average than most ethnic minority employees. 

Anneliese Dodds, shadow women and equalities secretary, told PoliticsHome that the government should implement its Race Equality Act, which would include mandatory reporting of ethnic pay gap data for firms with more than 250 staff.  

"After 13 years of failure, these figures lay bare the stark inequalities in our economy, with little action by the Conservative to close these glaring pay gaps," said Dodds, commenting on the ONS' figures.

"The Conservatives' economic chaos is letting people down and holding people back across our country.

"Only Labour has a plan for sustained economic growth that benefits everyone in our country. And with our Race Equality Act we will tackle the structural barriers that are holding too many people back."

Other measures the party says it will take in its Race Equality Act include implementing the recommendations of the Lammy Review, building on the contents of Doreen Lawrence's report 'An Avoidable Crisis', tackling the Black maternal mortality gap, and speeding up the Windrush compensation scheme. 

Responding to the ONS figures on ethnicity pay gaps, General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) Paul Nowak said "no worker should be held back or paid less because of racism at work". 

“But structural racism still plays a big role in determining Black workers’ pay and career prospects – and this government has done nothing to change that," said Nowak.

“That’s not good enough. Labour’s New Deal for Working People would help tackle the discrimination that holds BME workers back by introducing a new duty on employers to report their ethnicity pay gap."

The Equality Hub at the Cabinet Office has been approached for comment. 

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