"In the last tax year men paid £92 billion in income tax whereas women paid £36.8 billion, which is 60% less."
Harriett Baldwin MP, West Worcestershire, House of Commons, February 8, 2013
There are more women in the workforce than ever before, and yet they still contribute 60% less in income tax than men.
Harriett Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, posed that same question to Vince Cable in Parliament yesterday:
"Normally I am in favour of lower income taxes, but in this case will the Secretary of State explain what else he is doing to help to equalise those figures and, most importantly, bring an extra £55 billion into the Exchequer?"
The figures were first brought to Parliament's attention by David Gauke, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, when Harriet Baldwin - who's been recently raising awareness on behalf of a charity called Working Families - first inquired about the split in income tax contributions between 24 million employed and self-employed men and women.
Mr Gauke's source was the 2010-11 Survey of Personal Incomes, which was released at the end of January this year. The survey contains summary information about individuals who are UK taxpayers, their income and the income tax to which they are liable.
When we zoom into the figures, we can see the gap between men and women in employment is not too wide: respectively 12.9 million versus 11.1 million. When we look at men and women in self-employment, the gap is much wider: 2.5 million men and 986,000 women.
From the HMRC statistics it also emerges that the number of female income tax payers has gone down since the recession, from 14.2 million in 2007/2008 to 13 million in the current financial year (2012/13). The number of male taxpayers has also dropped from 18.2 million in 2007/08 to 17 million presently.
The gap looks more pronounced when we break the figures down by income bracket.Number of taxpayers by gender and income bracket | Create infographics
Flickr image courtesy of charles van L.