Ipswich: Lowest paid workers at borough council to get increase on minimum wage to improve standard of living

Martin Cook.

Martin Cook. - Credit: Archant

While most local authority staff have had their salaries frozen for another year, the lowest-paid workers at the borough will be seeing an increase this year.

The council has decided to bring in the “living wage” for all its staff – which will see the wages of about 90 members of staff increase.

Until now the borough’s lowest-paid staff have received the minimum wage.

The Living Wage Foundation is backed by major employers, trade unions, charities, and politicians from all sides of the spectrum to try to ensure everyone is paid enough to live in some comfort.

For people living outside London, the living wage rate is £7.45 a hour compared with the minimum wage for adults of £6.19 an hour.

The borough says that increasing the salary of its lowest-paid staff will add about £260,000 – or 1% – to its wage bill.

Borough councillor with responsibility for finance Martin Cook said: “We’re introducing it because we believe in a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

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“Morally it’s the right thing to do but based on the experience of other employers we also expect to see gains in productivity, reduced absenteeism, lower staff turnover and better customer service.

“Nationally it’s been calculated that if the five million people currently earning below the living wage were to be uplifted the Treasury would be £2bn net better off as a result of increased income tax revenues and reduced benefits payments after allowing for the increase in the wage bill.”

The £260k cost included on-costs (like pension and NI liabilities).

Staff union Unison has been leading the call for the living wage to be introduced in the public sector.

Michelle Bradley from Unison said: “We are very pleased that Ipswich council is taking this lead which is good for the whole area – we hope other employers take up the challenge.”

Elsewhere in Britain the living wage has been adopted by employers as diverse as accountants KPMG and charity Save the Children.

Is the living wage good for staff? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk

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