Living Wage in Gloucestershire for almost 900 workers in doubt
Hopes for a Living Wage for almost 900 low paid workers are on the verge of being kicked in to the long grass.
Today Gloucestershire County Council overview and scrutiny management committee didn’t drop the idea but only a smaller number of workers will benefit in 2014 - if the cabinet includes it in budget plans.
Councillor Steve Lydon’s (L, Dursley) original proposal to raise 896 directly and indirectly employed workers from at least the mandatory minimum wage of £6.19 per hour (£6.31 from October 1) to a voluntary £7.45 an hour didn’t find favour with Conservative committee members.
Instead, the committee has asked the cabinet to consider the living wage - equal to £14,372 a year - in its budget setting process, for the 119 employees who work directly for the council, and not the 777 in council-maintained schools. The change would cost £160,000, rather than £500,000 for all 896 employees.
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“We have a forecast overspend this year of £4.6million,” said Councillor Lyndon Stowe (C, Campden-Vale). “This £160,000 is only one item that goes in to the budget equation and it will have to be taken off somewhere else.”
Mr Lydon said raising wages helps the economy as well as lifting living standards.
“The living wage lifts the economy,” he said. “Are we going to have a trend where we park this for three months, do a report and send it to cabinet and see this kicked in to the long grass?”
Councillor Jeremy Hilton (LD, Kingsholm and Wotton) said the cost is similar to chief executive Peter Bungard’s salary.
“It would cost the council about £160,000, a relatively small amount,” he said. “The chief executive of this council earns around the same. It’s small beer as far as the county council is concerned.”