Companies will be required to publish details of the gap between pay levels for staff of different ethnic backgrounds under proposals included in political party manifestos.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced that new rules on gender pay gap reporting will be extended to cover ethnic minorities if she wins the June 8 General Election.

Her plan comes after TUC research suggested ethnic minority workers with education to A-level earn 17% less than white colleagues while the salaries of those with degrees are 10% lower.

The disparity was even greater for black university graduates, who earn 23% less than their white counterparts, while black people with A-levels were paid 14% less than whites.

The move forms part of a "new deal for workers", which Tories are describing as the greatest extension of rights and protections for employees ever offered by the party.

Mrs May said: "The fact that different ethnic groups are being paid less for doing the same jobs is an injustice which cannot be allowed in 21st-century Britain.

"My plan will deliver a fairer deal for all workers, by extending rights and protections, guaranteeing rises in the national living wage and delivering a strong and stable economy.

"There is only one leader at this election who will put rights and opportunities for ordinary working families first."

Mrs May's plans will also include the requirement to publish information on the pay gap at different grades of staff and age.

The black, Asian and minority ethnic employment rate is currently at a record high of 64.8%.

Lib Dems would name and shame companies ethnic pay gap.

Announcing the policy, Tim Farron said, “The Liberal Democrats fought an uphill struggle against the Conservatives in Coalition to get gender pay gap reporting into law, but the fight doesn’t stop there.

"It is shocking that in 21st Century Britain inequality that comes down to race still persists.

"Sunlight is always the best disinfectant and by bringing these gaps out into the open we can start to address the issue and speed up progress to create a more equal and fair workplace.

“With the Conservatives taking on the vile rhetoric of UKIP, policies like this are more important than ever. T "The referendum result was not a green light to racism and xenophobia. It must have no impact on the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-faith society that Britain is and will remain.”

Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat Campaign Spokesperson and former Business Minister added, “The gender pay gap and the BAME pay gap are a sign that we are failing to make the most of talent in the workplace, which is bad for our economy.

"Information is powerful, but while organisations are allowed to get away with keeping patchy records, we'll never know the full extent of the gap."

"Transparent data on the BAME pay gap will help employers focus on what they need to do to ensure equal opportunities at work for people of all ethnic backgrounds.

"The Liberal Democrats believe that in order to grow the economy we can leave no one behind, it is not only morally just but good business-sense to close the gap.”