Hereford & Worcester

Worcester City Council approves 'living wage'

Some of the lowest paid staff at Worcester City Council will see a rise in pay after the local authority voted to pay the living wage.

From 1 January, all workers will be paid a minimum of £7.65 an hour after a motion was backed by a full council meeting on Tuesday night.

The figure is believed to reflect the basic cost of living in the UK, outside of London.

The local authority said the move was due to cost about £25,000.

It is expected to affect about 70 staff working for the Labour-led coalition, which is looking to cut £4m from its budget by 2019.

'Basic right'

Labour councillor Joy Squires said: "People are really struggling to pay basic household bills.

"Life is a struggle. Decent pay for a decent day's work is I think a basic right."

Councillor Lynn Denham, responsible for community engagement, said the decision would also benefit the local economy and called on businesses in the area to follow suit.

Conservative councillor Marc Bayliss, however, said it was expensive and unfair.

"You can end up distorting the market," he said.

"One group of people working in the public sector gets say £1 an hour more than the private sector, doing exactly the same job. And I think that's an inequality that we shouldn't be making.

The £7.65 rate, higher than the national minimum wage, is supported by the Living Wage Foundation and calculated by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University.

Worcester City Council said it would review the decision annually.

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