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London now has the widest gender pay gap in the UK

The gender pay gap in London has remained virtually unchanged over 20 years (Getty Images)

Just 20 years ago, London had the narrowest gender pay gap in the country – two decades on, it has the widest.

While the gap been closing steadily across the country, in the capital, time has stood still.

New analysis from the Office for National Statistics shows that women working full-time in London earned 15.1% less per hour, on average, than their male counterparts 20 years ago.

MORE: Women in the UK are now working for free until the end of the year

This has narrowed only slightly, according to the ONS, to 14.6% now.

However, in Northern Ireland, women earn 3.4% more per hour, on average, than their male counterparts – the only region in the UK where the pay gap has been in favour of women, and this has been the case since 2010.

Meanwhile, the gap in Wales and Scotland has narrowed over the last 20 years, with women earning 6.3% and 6.6% per hour less than men, respectively. In 1997, women earned 17.5% less than men in Wales, and 18.4% less in Scotland.

The narrowing pay gap across the UK is shown here (Source: ONS)

“The pay gap between men and women working in London has barely changed in over two decades,” the ONS said.

“Other regions have seen more movement towards pay equality over time.”

MORE: Lord Sugar tells women to shout louder about unfair pay

Analysis shows that the pay gap has shrunk markedly across the majority of UK regions:

  • In the East Midlands, it is 13.6% now, in 1997 it was 20.6%
  • In South East, it is 12.3%, it was 20.1%
  • In the West Midlands, it is 12.1%, it was 19.7%
  • In the South West, it is 11.4%, it was 21.3%
  • In the North West, it is 7.5%, it was 19.7%

Among part-time workers, women more frequently earn greater pay than men, partially because a higher proportion of women are in part-time work.

The pay gap among part-time workers is smallest in the South East, where women earn 3.1% more per hour than men.

In the public sector, the wage gap has stagnated in the country as a whole, with women earning 13.1% less per hour, from 13.5% in 1997.

Strictly Come Dancing’s Claudia Winkleman, left, with co-host Tess Daly, is the BBC’s highest female earner (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

The figures come months after the disclosure of pay disparities between male and female stars at the BBC sparked a backlash and an open letter from at least 40 women BBC presenters calling for action.

MORE: Pictured: The high-profile female stars who jointly wrote to BBC boss over gender pay gap

It was revealed two-thirds of its stars earning more than £150,000 are male, with Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans the top-paid on between £2.2m and £2.25m, way ahead of the top paid female talent, Strictly’s Claudia Winkleman on £500,000 a year.

Starting next year, companies with more than 250 employees in the UK will have to report how much they are paying in salaries and bonuses to their male and female staff.