Women & Equalities Committee Chair asks EHRC if it will take action against BBC



The Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee has asked the Equalities and Human Rights Commission if it will take action against the BBC over the equal pay dispute.

Maria Miller has written to the EHRC Chair David Isaac to ask what criteria the EHRC will use for deciding whether to take action against the BBC, following a letter they sent to the corporation in early January, and what range of possible actions will be considered. She also asked whether the published information about BBC salaries – including the details recently made public – provides sufficient basis for the EHRC to take formal enforcement action against the BBC and whether it has plans to do this.

The Committee says it is concerned with the effectiveness of the Equality Act and the EHRC’s role in that. The letter states: “The example of the BBC is one with such a high public profile, and therefore one with such potential to set cultural expectations, that we are keen to understand more about why the Commission would not already be taking formal enforcement action in this instance.”

The letter follows the appearance before a parliamentary committee yesterday of Carrie Gracie, former China editor at the BBC. She lambasted the corporation for failing to live up to its values and not telling the truth about pay inequality.

A BBC review earlier this week found no evidence of gender bias in pay decision-making in the corporation.

Since publishing figures last year on top presenters’ salaries, the BBC has been in the spotlight about gender pay parity. It is facing 297 equal pay claims, including 133 on-air staff and 151 off-air staff.

Maria Miller also successfully brought a proposal to the House of Commons this week with Labour’s Harriet Harman which would allow MPs who have recently become parents to nominate another MP to cast their votes in parliament under a new system of “baby leave”.

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