Shocking statistics show Boston’s women get paid almost £100 a week less than men working in the borough.
Men living in Boston were paid on average about £446 a week for a full-time role in 2013, compared to about £354 for women according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.
The £92 gap is about the same as elsewhere but with wages lower than the regional and national average here, it is even more keenly felt and represents a higher proportion of income.
Coun Yvonne Gunter is a member of Boston Borough Council’s cabinet and in her career away from West Street has run four businesses.
She said she was ‘quite shocked’ by the figures.
She added: “I couldn’t believe there was this gap.”
Coun Gunter called for action to address the disparity, suggesting that business owners should consider the balance between men and women among their senior employees.
She said: “I think it needs looking at, bearing in mind this area has always been poorly paid anyway. I do think that gap needs closing. I think the employers need to talk about it. They need to be seriously thinking about how they can narrow it a bit.”
As the operator of Pilgrim Hospital, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust is one of the town’s major employers.
A spokesman for the trust stressed its pay is calculated based on where a particular employee sits within its pay scale, which goes up after each year of employment.
He said: “We have certain bands whereby female staff may earn a higher wage than male staff and vice versa. This means that any pay gaps may be due to the length of time the individuals have been employed by the trust.”
The spokesman did not confirm, however, how many women hold senior positions at the hospital.
Coun Paul Gleeson has campaigned, unsuccessfully, to try to get the borough council to adopt the Living Wage – currently £7.65 an hour.
He said this would not solve Boston’s pay gap – but would help lift the salaries of the town’s lowest paid workers.
Coun Gleeson said: “Like the minimum wage it applies to men and women so it would benefit everybody. It would close the pay gap a bit and make things better by lifting the wages of the poorest people.”
He said the introduction of the minimum wages was positive for low wage areas such as Boston, but said there are still issues, adding: “The minimum wage is meant to be the starting point not the wage.
“Boston has the fourth lowest wages in the country and the lowest compared to similar rural district council areas.”