If the government delays the extension of flexible working rights it will have a serious impact on reducing the pay discrepancy between men and women.

That is according to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), which has been reacting to reports that the government may delay legislation relating to flexible working.

The TUC has suggested that the introduction of "family-friendly legislation" has helped to reduce the gender pay gap.

Commenting on the issue, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: "The right to request flexible working has been taken up by millions of working parents.

"The government would be foolish to throw away all this momentum and electoral support just to satisfy a few business lobbyists who never agreed with it in the first place."

David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, recently reacted to the effects of extending flexible working rights on businesses.

He said: "A moratorium on harmful extra legislation would be good news in what are exceptionally difficult times."