Lord Sugar says women pushing for more money will tackle the gender pay gap

Rebecca Smith
Lord Alan Sugar's The Apprentice programme returns to the BBC tonight
Lord Alan Sugar's The Apprentice programme returns to the BBC tonight (Source: Getty)

Lord Sugar has said the gender pay gap can be tackled by women insisting they want to be paid more.

In an interview with the Press Association, the businessman also said the forced pay transparency at the BBC earlier this year was "disgraceful".

Sugar said pay was a private issue, after the BBC was forced to publish the pay of talent earning more than £150,000 in July. It gathered a great deal of attention at the time, with the corporation saying a third of its highest-paid stars were women, and that it needed to go further on addressing the disparity.

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"I don't think transparency over pay is the correct thing," he said. "It's a private issue and I think it's disgraceful, actually, that the BBC were forced to publish what people were earning.

"I don't believe that people should publish what people are earning to start the debate that 'Charlie earns this, and Celia only gets that, but she does the same job'. I don't think that was right," Sugar added.

The businessman said the gender pay gap, "can be narrowed by the lady herself saying, 'No, I want more money. Right, you want me to do that, I want more money.'".

"Her agent should come along and say, 'Hold on, I know how much Charlie's being paid and I want more for my lady to do it.' If the BBC or ITV or Channel 4 or Channel 5 say 'nah, not really', then tough. She'll have to decide what she wants to be paid."

While large firms will have to reveal their gender pay gaps by April 2018, at present very few companies have published the data.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has said as with any new regulation, firms will want to make sure they get it right and "will use the time available to them".

Read more: Surprise: The gender pay gap is even bigger than we previously thought

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