Shropshire Council should pay living wage, says councillor

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A Shropshire councillor has called for staff at the local authority to be paid a living wage.

Liberal Democrat Nigel Hartin said there were about 3,400 workers who were paid below £7.45 per hour.

The figure, put forward by the Living Wage Foundation, is believed to be the basic cost of living in the UK.

The national minimum wage is currently £6.19 per hour and Keith Barrow, leader of the Conservative council, said the move would cost about £1m a year.

In a written response to Mr Hartin, he said it would be difficult to justify at a time Shropshire Council was looking to find savings of £80m over four years, including job cuts.

The council currently employs about 4,500 people.

Lowest incomes

The living wage campaign has been supported by trade unions including Unison.

Mr Hartin is expected to call for a debate into the matter at a council meeting later in the week.

"I think it's important because we've got in this country 48 million workers below the living wage level," he said.

"Let's be clear, it's the people on the lowest incomes that always have the most difficulty in surviving day-to-day living.

"There's well over 80 councils, out of 400 English councils, who now pay a living wage.

"What I'm asking for is the debate to be carried out."

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