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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Women in U.K. Earn 17% Less

LONDON -- The gender pay gap is worse in Britain than anywhere else in Europe, with women in full-time work earning 17 percent less than men, a government-appointed commission said on Monday.

The Women and Work Commission called for a change of culture in schools and workplaces, saying the gap was costing Britain up to £23 billion ($40 billion) a year in lost productivity and wasted talent.

"Many women are working day in, day out far below their abilities," said Commission chairwoman Baroness Prosser.

"This waste of talent is an outrage at a time when the U.K. is facing increasing competition in the global marketplace, and an outrage for those women personally," she said.

The report was commissioned in 2004 by Prime Minister Tony Blair, who responded to its findings on Monday by instructing Minister for Women Tessa Jowell to produce a plan to overcome the problem.

The report outlined 40 recommendations, including a scheme to give schoolgirls a better understanding of pay and their prospects. It also suggested improved training for women returning to work after having a baby.

The Transport and General Workers Union welcomed the report but said the commission should have gone further and recommended a mandatory pay audit.