Aylesbury's twinned town Bourg-en-Bresse district council fined 'for appointing too many women'

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You might not know, but Aylesbury is Twinned with Bourg-en-Bresse, a small town in the East of France, in the western foothills of the Jura mountains

Since twinning 12 years ago, schools such as Turnfurlong and Sir Henry Floyd have sent their pupils on exchanges to the town in eastern France. Aylesbury’s new bridge linking town to Southcourt was also named in the French town’s honour.

However it appears that the local district council are in hot water, as they were fined £81,000 for "appointing too many women to its management team" in breach of public-sector gender parity laws.

This is the first case of this happening in France for employing too many women, as normally public institutions are fined for failing to meet the statutory 40% quota of women in top council jobs.

This was part of legislation introduced in 2012 under a 'parity law', to ensure there was equality between the genders for top jobs.

Bourg-en-Bresse has appointed more than 60% of the top jobs in the council to women.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Jean-François Debat, the chairman of the Bourg-en-Bresse council, was unapologetic.

He said: “I think it’s comical to be punished for this reason.

“Not only do I stand by our appointments, I’m proud of having so many women in our management teams.”

He plans to appeal to the government to have the fine thrown out.

He said: “Our council deserves to be applauded, not penalised.”