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Council could do more to promote the Living Wage

LivingWage.jpgAt the Council meeting of 25th February it was announced that North West Leicestershire District Council is now committed to paying their employees the “Living Wage”.

However, although the Labour Group at the Council welcomes the announcement, they believe the Council could do more to promote the Living Wage. The Council could seek to ensure contractors and suppliers of goods to the Council also introduce a Living Wage amongst their employees and encourage employers within the District do the same. With this in mind the Group submitted a motion* asking for this further commitment from the Council.

The Living Wage is an hourly rate of pay set by an independent body and is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK, currently it is £7.65 per hour nationally and £8.80 in London. It has been proven to have a significant impact on recruitment and retention within companies who pay it, along with improving other performance measures.

Councillor Nick Clarke, who submitted the motion said;

“The Living Wage can help lift the low paid off benefits and help the local economy by giving people a little more spending power. Many workers, often part time, find themselves having also to claim some form of benefit in order to make ends meet because their salary simply doesn’t cover the cost of living. Many local authorities are now supporting the “Living Wage” campaign and recognise the positive impact it can have on the local economy.”

Jamie McMahon, the Labour Party Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for North West Leicestershire added;

“Britain is suffering from a cost of living crisis. That’s why if Labour are elected to Government in 2015 we have committed to promote the Living Wage by giving a tax rebate to firms which sign up to paying the Living Wage. Labour and I understand the importance of increasing the pay of our lowest paid workers with the Living Wage and I’m delighted the Labour Group at North West Leicestershire District Council are taking the lead on promoting this issue.”

After a lengthy debate, the motion was put to the vote. The Tories and single Lib Dem Councillor voted against the motion and it was lost.

Cllr Nick Clarke said;

“We have been putting pressure on the Tory administration to adopt the Living Wage and are delighted that they have committed to introduce it for their employees, but it is disappointing that the Tory administration and the Liberal Democrat could not be persuaded to support the further commitments asked of the Council in our motion

After the meeting the Labour group leader Cllr Tom Neilson stated;

“Being a living wage employer is something to be proud of and I am delighted that we have finally committed to ensure that no one employed by the Council is paid less than the independently set living wage. The challenge now is to encourage other local employers to start paying their lowest paid workers more and accept this as the level of income which has been assessed as the very minimum required to sustain an acceptable quality of life.”

 

*The motion:

Council notes:

That a growing number of local authorities are now paying the Living Wage.

That the Living Wage is a level of pay which is based on the principle of decency that work should pay at least enough to provide for the essentials of life.

That the Living Wage has been independently set nationally at £7.65 and £8.80 for London per hour.

Therefore this Council

  • Supports the introduction of the Living Wage for all its employees with effect from 1st April 2014
  • Works towards accreditation as a Living Wage Employer.
  • Seeks to ensure its contractors and suppliers of goods and services do likewise.
  • Uses its influence to encourage all employers within the District to also implement the living wage for their employees.

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