The government has reversed plans to force employers with more than 250 staff to conduct gender pay audits from 2013, claiming the move will free businesses from further regulation.
In a speech at the launch of the Female FTSE 100 report last week, equalities minister Lynne Featherstone criticised the previous Labour administration for its "bureaucratic" methods of cutting the salary gap between men and women.
"Bucket loads of regulations were being dumped on businesses already struggling," she explained. "The past approach also put too much focus on tackling overt discrimination. Legislation was viewed as the sole route to equality."
Ms Featherstone added that certain attitudes have become ingrained in some of Britain's biggest companies, blocking the path of talented women to boardroom roles and restricting the wages of those working further down.
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis attacked the announcement, claiming it jeopardised the progress made in recent years towards more equal pay and questioning the government's commitment.
Posted by Hayley Edwards