With a thin Queen’s Speech and little contentious legislation before Parliament, must of the political action is outside Westminster.
Last week saw a succession of announcements about devolving power away from the centre. First Labour announced a plan to strengthen the regions, then Government Ministers followed suit with their plan to encourage growth outside London. The political landscape is changing and the future is local.
The UK is one of the most centralised countries. Better decisions, we’re told, are made nearer to, and where possible by, people in the communities in which they live. But there are limits and where those limits lie is one of the big debates of the moment.
Take women’s pay. Forty four years after the Equal Pay Act many women still don’t have pay equality. On average women workers receive 80p for every £1 earned by a man for doing the same job and recently the gap has grown.
Local action and decision making are important but so too is national legislation, setting national standards, bridging the gender inequality gap, preventing immigration undermining wage levels and, crucially, increasing the national minimum wage.
Girls are outperforming boys at school, more girls are going to University and running businesses. It’s about time equal pay meant equal pay.