Reading Liberal Democrats have slammed Labour-run Reading Borough Council for still failing to settle equal pay claims for 61 women who worked at the Council.

Despite accepting that it broke equal pay laws in 2009, the Council has not settled the claims and has had to set aside £10.8 million in their budget for such claims. The women have not received any of the money owed to them, making the council the last in England not to have settled an equal pay claim.

Commenting, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Reading Borough Council, Councillor Ricky Duveen said “One claimant has died waiting for a settlement. I challenge the Council to bring this sorry episode to an end and to make arrangements to pay out what they owe their female workforce. They should stop the legal wrangling, stop the procrastination and do what is morally right.”

Even the trade union Unison and Reading Labour Councillors are calling for this issue to be resolved. Maggi Ferncombe, Unison south east regional secretary, said: “Rather than cough up the cash owed when it had the chance, the local authority has instead chosen to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on expensive lawyers trying to avoid settling the case.” and Labour Councillor Tony Jones has called it on his blog “a continuing shame on Reading Borough Council.”

Local Liberal Democrat campaigner James Moore commented further: “It is hypocritical of Reading Labour to continue this farce when Jeremy Corbyn and other senior Labour figures were only a few weeks ago campaigning and doing photo shoots for Equal Pay Day when the last Council in England to have not settled an equal pay claim is run by Labour”.