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82 Councils in England & Wales and 32 in Scotland committed to paying Living Wage
The GMB Congress in Plymouth was yesterday told that of the 400 councils In England and Wales there are now 82 paying or committed to pay their staff the living wage. In addition, all 32 councils in Scotland are now living wage employers paying their staff at least the living wage.
The councils in England and Wales are:
Ashfield District Council, LB Barking and Dagenham, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, Bassetlaw District Council , Blackpool Council, Birmingham City Council, Braintree District Council, LB Brent, Brighton and Hove City Council, Bristol City Council, Bromsgrove District Council, Burnley Borough Council, Caerphilly County Borough Council, Cambridge City Council, Cherwell District Council, Calderdale Council, LB Camden, Cardiff Council, Carlisle City Council Chorley Borough Council, City of London Corporation, Coventry City Council, Crawley Borough Council, Croydon Council, Dartford Borough Council, Deal Town Council, LB Ealing, LB Enfield, Gedling District Council, Gloucester City Council, LB Greenwich, LB Haringey, Harlow District Council, LB Harrow, LB Hounslow, Hyndburn Borough Council, Ipswich Borough Council, LB Islington, North Kesteven District Council, LB Lambeth, Leicester City Council, LB Lewisham, Mansfield District Council, Manchester City Council, Melton Mowbray District Council, Newark and Sherwood District Council, LB Newham, Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council, Newcastle City Council, Newport City Council, Norwich City Council, Nottingham City Council, Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council, Oxford City Council, Plymouth City Council, Preston City Council, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, Rossendale Borough Council, Salford City Council, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, Scarborough Borough Council, Sheffield City Council, Slough Borough Council, South Gloucestershire Council, LB Southwark, Surrey County Council, Swindon Borough Council, Swansea City and County Council, Tamworth Borough Council, Thurrock Council, LB Tower Hamlets, South Tyneside Council, Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council, Winchester City Council, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council, Worcester City Council, Wolverhampton City Council, Wyre Forest District Council and City or York Council.
"That is real progress," argued Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services. "That is tens of thousands of council workers getting paid more fairly and being less reliant on benefits and having dignity and respect for the work they do.
"Designed by economists, the living wage is £7.45 an hour and £ 8.55 in London - over £1 an hour more than the minimum wage. It is set so as to be a reflection of the true cost of living, which at the lowest levels of pay, is more than at higher rates of pay because the things that form the highest proportion of costs - such as water, gas and electricity bills and fuel and food are the things that have seen the greatest level of inflation.
"It isn't the headline inflation number that matters. It's the real cost of living that is actually hurting people.
"That leads to two things. Firstly, what has become known as 'in work poverty' and secondly, the recognition of this through topping up low pay through the benefits system. It is a crazy and shameful fact that the majority of welfare benefits are paid to people in work. How ridiculous is that? How demeaning to those workers... How economically inefficient.
"Because you see what it means: Employers are getting away with cheapskate pay levels topped up by the state through in work benefits. That's the taxpayer subsidising low wage employers. We see that in the care sector, in cleaning jobs, in catering and hospitality, in retail... So often sharing this common feature: that they are jobs done by women, more often than not part time. And nowhere is the madness and shame of low wages topped up by benefits more stupid than in the public sector. It's a scandal that 280,000 local government workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are paid less than the living wage.
"And that's where we started the GMB national campaign for the living wage in January of this year - aimed at persuading every council to become a living wage employer, starting with their own staff, extending to agency and contract workers and suppliers, building then, out to the whole local business community bringing in the private sector as well."
6th June 2013