The government’s wide-ranging programme of spending cuts could serve to increase the disparity in salaries between men and women as well as job insecurity, an expert has warned.

Fawcett Society policy and campaigns head Anna Bird claimed twice as many women were likely to lose their jobs as men and pointed out that a significant gap still exists between the genders 40 years after the Equal Pay Act came into being.

“Progress on closing the gap is stalling,” she commented. “Unless we take urgent action, another generation of women face earning less than men for the duration of their working lives.”

Ms Bird added that the “economic independence” of many female employees was under real threat from the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition’s austerity measures and the way in which they are being implemented.

Her comments came after the GMB trade union called on the government to implement legislation aimed at supporting working women and removing barriers restricting their recruitment.

Posted by Cameron Thomson