A concerned Dartford councillor has blasted the local authority after it was revealed to have one of the biggest gender pay gaps in Kent.

Dartford Borough Council reported a 27.5 per cent gender pay gap for 2018/2019.

This mean that on average, women working within the council earned approximately 72p for every £1 a man made in that time period.

These latest figures show a slight improvement on the year previous, when the Council reported the pay gap to be 27.9 per cent.

However, the current wage gap still stands well above the national average, which last year was calculated at 17.9 per cent.

Dartford Labour have since released a statement outlining that they are "dismayed" by the revelation and are calling on officials to collaborate to help close the gap.

Stone House ward councillor and Women's Officer for Dartford Labour, Cllr Kelly Grehan has said: "It's disappointing to hear that Dartford Borough Council continues to have such a big gender pay gap.

"We urge the council to examine their processes against the guidance from The Government Equalities Office and find out if there are barriers to women progressing or feeling they can progress within the settings in place.

"For example, is there a diversity taskforce in place; are mentoring schemes in place and recruitment panels gender balanced and is leadership training available ?

"As a constituency party we believe strongly in reflection of processes being a good opportunity for improvement.

"We have examined out own processes and as a result were able to see our councillor team elected with 60 per cent women after having only 14 per cent in the last group.

"We would be happy to work with the council to look at means of improvement."

When contacted for a comment, a DBC spokesman offered an explanation on factors which could be affecting this year's pay gap.

"The gender pay gap exists within Dartford Borough Council mainly due to the fact that the majority (64.2 per cent) of the workforce is female and predominately a large proportion of these are employed in the lower quartile pay bands. "Whilst, the Council has no direct control over the career choices or work/life balance choices that individuals make, women are often attracted to roles at the Council because of the flexible working and family friendly policies we adopt.

"Taking in to account that both of the Council’s current directors are female and in the top six most senior positions in the Council (four are female and two are male), the Council’s workforce profile suggests that it is the lack of men in lower graded jobs that is the cause of the extent of the gap."

The spokesman also suggested that because the Council contract out a number of services including rubbish collection and council house maintenance, many of which traditionally employ men on a lower wage, it might contribute to the Council's gender pay gap issue compared to neighbouring authorities.