Hancock breaks ranks with attack on Equality Act

Tory MP Matthew Hancock launched an attack on the Equality Act at the Conservative party conference yesterday - just days after Theresa May praised it.

Tory right-winger Matthew Hancock has told a group of businessmen the Equality Act will cause “an awful lot of problems” for the government – just days after home secretary Theresa May commended the Act for “clearing a path towards equal pay”. Mr Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, also appears to be at odds with most of his colleagues. Only four Conservative MPs voted against the final reading of the Equality Bill.

Mr Hancock, a former adviser to George Osborne, was speaking at a fringe meeting of the British Chambers of Commerce at the Conservative party conference yesterday, in which he also said: “I apologise that Harriet Harman got her equalities law through.” The debate was chaired by Tory blogger Iain Dale.

Last Friday, Ms May wrote in The Guardian:

Today marks another milestone in the journey towards equal pay with the introduction of the main provisions of the Equality Act 2010. One of the measures in the Act is to make pay secrecy clauses unenforceable, allowing women to find out if they are being paid less than their male counterparts…

We also need to break down the glass ceiling that too many women face in their careers. Last week, I met with some of the UK’s biggest employers and business leaders to identify real action that we can take to help get more women on to the boards of British businesses…

The coalition is absolutely committed to breaking down the barriers that remain to equal pay in modern Britain today.

Last month, Mr Hancock used an op ed in the Times to justify the government’s accelerated spending cuts programme, an argument contested by Left Foot Forward.

6 Responses to “Hancock breaks ranks with attack on Equality Act”

  1. Shamik Das

    Same old Tories… RT @leftfootfwd: Hancock breaks ranks with attack on Equality Act: http://bit.ly/9exzjQ #cpc10

  2. Kirsty Styles

    RT @leftfootfwd: Hancock MP attack on Equality Act http://bit.ly/9exzjQ Same day's work for same day's pay

  3. Christian Wilcox ( ctg )

    Hmmm. Less sexism is obviously good, but pregnancy can slow a lass down in the workplace a bit. And that can effect her, erm, well, why she was employed. As she is distracted in the workplace by her new responsibilities. It may not be by much, but I could imagine it causing some problems. If she does her older ‘stress is fine’ style she may well make herself ill.

    The unequal pay thing was where women needed more time off due to ze kids. But where so many ended up stitched up, or did not have kids, that is where this unfairness card came in. And if you aren’t planning on having kids it is unfair to take home less. That’s pretty obvious. Howevvah…

    I’m wary about maternity leave though. It’s expensive. Full wage, and they need to get in a temp as well? So you’re costing 1.5 times the rate, and if working from home ( or working in the office carefully ) you may only produce 3/4 of the work.

    Business-wise it doesn’t make sense. It’s in compassion that it makes sense. The math is well out, and we’re skint at the minute so firms will have less money to waste.

    I’m thinking you need to save up with your employer, or agree to a lower rate of wage when away on maternity leave, to help your employer justify your protection ( and your job ). If you funded your temp for example that would help. But how would you fund it?

    The logic says to save up. A Maternity Pension if you will. It could be with said employer, or you accruing savings privately to cover yourself for the ‘big year out’. It can be a whole year, and that’s the problem. And that’s a whole year of an employer paying 1.5 times the rate for 3/4 of the work. They’ll have you, although slower, and also an assistant for you.

    I think it could work. But it does mean more people actually thinking ahead when it comes to marriage and ze sproggies. A ‘women’s deal’ if you will, to help the employer cover the cost of this ‘year out’, and also reduce the stigma IYSWIM. Men could also accrue this ‘credit’ for their couple of months out on Paternity Leave, so it could work.

    So you do it ‘in house’, or privately. Like a pension. But it should be cheaper, as it’s only cover for 1 year or so. Not retirement. Seeing as many do not start covering a pension until they are in their 40’s ( IIRC ) then… They’ve got the first 20 years of working career to plan and save up IYSWIM. Premiums would be based on job-type, and as such cost to get cover. Which is also fair. And if you’re in a relationship jumping money between partners is not really new.

    It’s a possible I’d say. And does help the business cover the costs. As well as providing you with the security of knowing your job is waiting for you when you get back, as well as the bills being paid whilst you’re on leave.

    It’ll also be a new product, so will generate jobs.

  4. Mr. Sensible

    What I don’t think some of the employers’ groups get is that if these employees are happier in the workplace they are more likely to be productive.

  5. JessicaBuck505

    Hancock breaks ranks with attack on Equality Act: I'm thinking you need to save up with your employer, or agree … http://t.co/n4brwr6k

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