Council marks Living Wage Week by pledging to explore feasibility of a new minimum wage for council staff

News release from 6 November 2017, 9:28am

CAMBRIDGE City Council has marked the start of Living Wage Week by pledging to explore the feasibility of paying all of its staff members a minimum of £10 per hour from April 2018.

The pledge will be formally announced at the start of the Living Wage Week event held tonight at Allia Future Business Centre, following the announcement that the new Real Living Wage rate for the UK is £8.75.

Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of the Council, said: “We support the principle at the heart of the Real Living Wage campaign that a fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.

“Therefore, in the yearly review of the council’s budget, we are exploring if we can afford to go further than paying the Real Living Wage as a minimum rate.

“By doing so, we hope to set an example for larger employers that can afford to do so to pay £10 per hour as a minimum.

“We will continue to promote the Real Living Wage of £8.75 as a minimum rate of pay to local employers, as this is independently calculated to reflect real living costs.

“Supporting fair pay has become even more essential since we started campaigning for the Real Living Wage since 2014.

“The Official for National Statistics reported that British workers’ earnings fell in inflation-adjusted terms for the first time since 2014, during the 12 months to April 2017.

“While exploring a £10 minimum for council staff in 2018, it is only right in our view that employees of all larger businesses and organisations in Cambridge should expect to receive the unrated Real Living Wage next year. It’s the absolute minimum needed to live in costly Cambridge.”

The Real Living Wage rate is set by the Living Wage Commission, consisting of employers, trade unions, civil society and independent experts.

As of today (6 November), the Real Living Wage rate has increased from £8.45 UK rate by 30p to £8.75. The London rate has increased from £9.75 to £10.20.

The rate changes each November in order to reflect changes to living costs, and employers that are accredited with the Living Wage Foundation have six months in which to implement to change.

The Living Wage campaign is a key part of the council’s Anti-poverty Strategy and the council has been promoting the Real Living Wage since it became accredited in 2014.

There are now 53 employers in Cambridge that have committed to pay the Real Living Wage and become accredited with the Living Wage Foundation to publicly demonstrate this commitment. The council has directly supported 24 of these employers with accreditation.

Living Wage Week (5 to 11 November) is a national campaign to celebrate Living Wage accredited employers and encourage more to sign up.

The council is celebrating the week by holding an event tonight to explore the impact of the Real Living Wage in alleviating poverty and business benefits of accreditation, which includes boosting an employer’s ethical reputation.

The council will also run a market stall tomorrow (Tuesday 7 November) to raise awareness of the Real Living Wage.