British MPs accuse government over gender pay gap

British lawmakers on Tuesday accused the government of being "complicit" in failing to reduce the difference between the pay of men and women, warning that the income gap was a "massive loss" for the economy.

The Women and Equalities parliamentary committee said in a report that the average 19.2-per cent difference in pay had remained the same for the past four years under Prime Minister David Cameron's centre-right government.

Women aged between 50 and 57 earned 27 per cent less than their male counterparts, the report said.

The committee urged the government to offer three months' paid leave for fathers, help women return to work after childbirth and grant more flexible working hours as well as opportunities to work from home.

"By refusing to act, the government is complicit in a system that is undermining productivity and perpetuating the gender pay gap," the report said.

Maria Miller, the chair of the committee and an MP with Cameron's Conservative Party, said the pay gap "represents a massive loss to the UK's economy".

"We must address it in the face of an ageing workforce, a skills crisis and the need for a more competitive economy," she said.

"If the government is serious about long-term sustainable growth it must invest in tackling the root causes of the gender pay gap." Following his re-election last year, Cameron said he would aim to put an end to the pay gap between men and women within a generation.

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