Villiers has no intention of intervening to address pay gap between NI and Britain

SECRETARY of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers has no intention of taking any steps to ensure a parity of wages in Northern Ireland with the rest of the UK.

DUP MP Jim Shannon asked her what steps she had taken in conjunction with the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment in the Northern Ireland Executive. Arlene Foster, to help close the gap.

But Mrs Villiers replied: “The setting of wages is influenced by a number of factors including market forces and legislation. This is not a matter that the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment has so far raised with me.”

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Back in 2010 the Sentinel revealed a typical worker in Londonderry would still earn less than the UK average (gross) even if they were paid income support on top of their weekly wage.

Two years ago workers in Londonderry earned just 83 per cent of their counterparts in the rest of the United Kingdom.

In Britain workers got £82 (gross) and in Northern Ireland £33 (gross) more on average every week

An average Londonderry worker would still have been £17.70 less well off than his or her colleagues in England, Scotland and Wales, even if they had been paid income support for a single person aged over 25 on top of their own weekly wage.

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If an average employee in Londonderry in 2010 was paid carers allowance on top of their own wages they would still have been £3.50 poorer than the Northern Ireland average.

In 2010 most workers were employed in the services sector (84 per cent) partly as a consequence of the death of manufacturing in the Londonderry area.

Officials in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETINI) revealed the data when asked by members of the Northern Ireland Executive for a briefing on the labour market.