South Gloucestershire Labour Councillors
The Labour Group at South Glos Council are disappointed that the Council voted against our amendment to this year’s budget which would have seen money allocated to start a Pay Modelling Review to look at how the Council can pay its lowest paid staff the Real Living Wage.
Councillor Pat Rooney said: “The council currently employers roughly 500 people who earn less than the Real Living Wage. The vast majority of these are women. The South Glos Council Plan is full of statements about reducing the inequality gap, eliminating child poverty, tackling food insecurity and fuel poverty, maximising household incomes, having a decent home which meets their needs, and having access to rewarding employment. Paying the Real Living Wage will have a beneficial impact on many of the actions proposed in the Council’s plan. A 78 pence an hour increase from £8.72 an hour to £9.50 an hour for a full-time worker, working 40 hours per week amounts to an additional £1622 annual income for that worker – that’s just over £30 per week or £120 a month – which can make all the difference to a struggling family. South Glos Council has an opportunity to set an example by paying its staff the real living wage, and encouraging other local employers to do the same.”
Cllr Rooney continued: “The Real Living Wage can be seen as a cost to the Council, but it can also be seen as an investment – both in the worker and also in the impact on the local economy of their increased spending. By accrediting as Living Wage Employers, local authorities are not only improving the lives of their employees but also making an investment in the community and local economy. Providing workers with more disposable income means more money will be spent with local businesses, generating wealth in the area – something that will be badly needed as we emerge from the pandemic.”
“The Covid 19 pandemic has laid bare the huge inequalities in our society – health inequalities are intrinsically linked to socio-economic inequalities – the less money you earn the poorer your health is likely to be. In his recent report Build Back Fairer: The Covid 19 Marmot Review, Professor Michael Marmot has recently recommended increasing the national living wage to meet the standard of minimum income for healthy living, as well as establishing a national goal so that everyone in full time work receives a wage that prevents poverty and enables them to live a healthy life. Paying people the Real Living Wage – a wage calculated on what people actually need to live on – should be our goal.”