The business secretary has spoken out against the introduction of fees for employment tribunals in 2013.

According to Vince Cable, in the third quarter of 2014-15, the total number of claims at employment tribunals was nearly 70 per cent lower than it had been in the first three months of the 2013-14 financial year.

Speaking to the Independent, he said the decline was particularly noticeable with sex discrimination claims, as they fell by 82 per cent during this period. Meanwhile, a 72 per cent drop in the number of equal pay cases occurred.

Mr Cable believes this suggests introducing fees for employment tribunals was "a very bad move and should be reversed".

Indeed, he said the figures are "highly suggestive that the fees are discouraging people - particularly low paid women - from pursuing their rights".

The Liberal Democrat acknowledged that some might see the fall as a "good news story", since it could be partly influenced by the introduction of new conciliation measures in recent years.

However, Mr Cable said policymakers "need to be sure it doesn't hide a much darker picture". He stated that "the truth is we just don't know as we don't have the data" to "prove what's happening on the ground".

He has therefore insisted that a proper review is urgently needed, as it will clarify whether or not people are being denied access to justice.

Sue Kelly, an employment partner at Winckworth Sherwood, commented: "Although the High Court dismissed Unison’s judicial review challenge to the introduction of tribunal fees, the union is appealing to the Court of Appeal, and this is due to be heard next month.”

A recent survey by CIPD found that employers are divided over the issue of employment tribunal fees at the moment.

Some 38 per cent of those polled said the system should remain as it is, but 36 per cent argued that the fees should either be scrapped or significantly reduced. A further 27 per cent were undecided as to what should be done.