Council low paid to get ‘living’ wage

THE lowest earning workers at City of York Council will be paid the national living wage of £7.45 per hour from April, according to leader James Alexander.

After committing to the recommended UK rate when it was unveiled to the media earlier this month, Coun Alexander confirmed yesterday that the council would introduce it in spring 2013, using economic infrastructure funds.

However, he said that the source of the extra cash for the following year was uncertain and that there would have to be staff re-evaluation – though the council would have 12 months to reach a solution.

Coun Alexander said: "We have been working with partners in the city and across the region to make progress on the Living Wage and the procurement of goods and services, in a way that is fair and sustainable.

"Our commitment to this must start with ensuring our own lowest paid staff benefit from a Living Wage and we have a plan in place to make sure this happens."

Kersten England, council chief executive, added: "The Living Wage was a headline recommendation of the Fairness Commission and I'm proud that we are making this commitment to our staff and that we are at the forefront of an increasing number of local authorities delivering on this commitment."

Comments (23)

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9:58am Tue 27 Nov 12

jaycee says...

I can't believe what I've just read.All staff are to receive a minimum of £7.45 per hour from 2013.However in 2014 we haven't a clue where the money's coming from.Having just read that £100,000 for a barge is being paid how much is in the 'economic structure fund' ?
I can't believe what I've just read.All staff are to receive a minimum of £7.45 per hour from 2013.However in 2014 we haven't a clue where the money's coming from.Having just read that £100,000 for a barge is being paid how much is in the 'economic structure fund' ? jaycee
  • Score: 0

10:30am Tue 27 Nov 12

Woody G Mellor says...

Staff re-evaluation eh? I'd be concerned about that if I was working for the council.

So here's some more money for you this year, but you may not have a job next year because we need to take from Peter to pay Paul.
Staff re-evaluation eh? I'd be concerned about that if I was working for the council. So here's some more money for you this year, but you may not have a job next year because we need to take from Peter to pay Paul. Woody G Mellor
  • Score: 0

10:36am Tue 27 Nov 12

Elephant says...

Using one-off infrastructure funds to provide pay increases? Is he mad?

Pay increases are a year-on-year recurring cost. In the real world you have to plan how any pay increase will be funded for years to come. Is it from budget cuts elsewhere (most likely infrastructure) or increased taxation?

That's why the Labour government handed money willy-nilly to build super hospitals, inner city academies, PPP contracts, generous GP contracts, public sector posts, gold-plated pensions, with no thought to how they could be funded in the future. It all just went on our One Nation's credit card.

It's great raising wages for low income earners but it should be accompanied by a credible plan for affording it in years to come. You can't just give money away, buy votes, then bleat about 'government cuts'. Be responsible.
Using one-off infrastructure funds to provide pay increases? Is he mad? Pay increases are a year-on-year recurring cost. In the real world you have to plan how any pay increase will be funded for years to come. Is it from budget cuts elsewhere (most likely infrastructure) or increased taxation? That's why the Labour government handed money willy-nilly to build super hospitals, inner city academies, PPP contracts, generous GP contracts, public sector posts, gold-plated pensions, with no thought to how they could be funded in the future. It all just went on our One Nation's credit card. It's great raising wages for low income earners but it should be accompanied by a credible plan for affording it in years to come. You can't just give money away, buy votes, then bleat about 'government cuts'. Be responsible. Elephant
  • Score: 0

10:56am Tue 27 Nov 12

meme says...

God no wonder we are broke!
These guys need a lesson in economics
God no wonder we are broke! These guys need a lesson in economics meme
  • Score: 0

11:19am Tue 27 Nov 12

Capt. Dobie says...

HOW does LocGovt get away with pay increases when the Civil Service sector is on a pay freeze and may well be up to 2018?

BTW, what is this about a £100K barge???

I always thought I couldn't be astounded by YCC shenanigans, but they always pull some ridiculous venture out of the bag.

Are we over critical or are they really POOr at what they do?
HOW does LocGovt get away with pay increases when the Civil Service sector is on a pay freeze and may well be up to 2018? BTW, what is this about a £100K barge??? I always thought I couldn't be astounded by YCC shenanigans, but they always pull some ridiculous venture out of the bag. Are we over critical or are they really POOr at what they do? Capt. Dobie
  • Score: 0

11:27am Tue 27 Nov 12

Oaklands Resident says...

Borrowing £338,000 to pay - ongoing - wage costs is seriously irresponsible.

Borrowing £100,000 to spend on an arts centre barge, without knowing how running costs are going to be met, is just plain mad.

We'll be bankrupt before 2015.

Bring back annual Council elections.
Borrowing £338,000 to pay - ongoing - wage costs is seriously irresponsible. Borrowing £100,000 to spend on an arts centre barge, without knowing how running costs are going to be met, is just plain mad. We'll be bankrupt before 2015. Bring back annual Council elections. Oaklands Resident
  • Score: 0

11:58am Tue 27 Nov 12

Elephant says...

I'm pleased I am not alone in my view on this nonsense. Mr Alexander must seriously be called to account on how the City can pay for this in future years. Otherwise people must see it for what it really is - a political move for him to boast his support for low income earners at the next election. It's gesture politics for which he will have moved on by the time it all needs to be paid for.

They should also make public the full economic cost of a council employee. What's the hourly rate when you add in pension benefits, holidays, sick leave, overheads etc. No doubt we will find that the taxpayer is getting a terrible deal and much of the struggling private can't function at these rates.
I'm pleased I am not alone in my view on this nonsense. Mr Alexander must seriously be called to account on how the City can pay for this in future years. Otherwise people must see it for what it really is - a political move for him to boast his support for low income earners at the next election. It's gesture politics for which he will have moved on by the time it all needs to be paid for. They should also make public the full economic cost of a council employee. What's the hourly rate when you add in pension benefits, holidays, sick leave, overheads etc. No doubt we will find that the taxpayer is getting a terrible deal and much of the struggling private can't function at these rates. Elephant
  • Score: 0

12:51pm Tue 27 Nov 12

M.Lucas says...

I think that the Council ensuring that it pays all employees the national living wage is a brilliant thing.

However, reading that this is how it will be done made my jaw hit the floor!

How can you use the Economic Infrastructure Fund to pay for the wage increase? How can you not know how you are going to pay the increased rate going forward?

It really sounds like Cllr Alexander made a promise without any idea how it was going to be paid for and has scrambled around for a solution.

With this and his borrowed vanity fund it looks as though Cllr Alexander is creating some major problems for the future of York.

However, I don't think he'll be around to pick up the pieces. All this short term thinking stinks of someone who intends to be in a higher office when the bills need paying.

I'm guessing he's aiming for a cushy safe-seat in London come 2015...
I think that the Council ensuring that it pays all employees the national living wage is a brilliant thing. However, reading that this is how it will be done made my jaw hit the floor! How can you use the Economic Infrastructure Fund to pay for the wage increase? How can you not know how you are going to pay the increased rate going forward? It really sounds like Cllr Alexander made a promise without any idea how it was going to be paid for and has scrambled around for a solution. With this and his borrowed vanity fund it looks as though Cllr Alexander is creating some major problems for the future of York. However, I don't think he'll be around to pick up the pieces. All this short term thinking stinks of someone who intends to be in a higher office when the bills need paying. I'm guessing he's aiming for a cushy safe-seat in London come 2015... M.Lucas
  • Score: 0

1:41pm Tue 27 Nov 12

atorycouncil2014 says...

The loony Lib Dems proposed this last year but at least they costed it properly. Can this man be arrested? The city will be bankrupt way before the election
The loony Lib Dems proposed this last year but at least they costed it properly. Can this man be arrested? The city will be bankrupt way before the election atorycouncil2014
  • Score: 0

1:44pm Tue 27 Nov 12

atorycouncil2014 says...

Hang on economic infrastructure fund!?!?!?!?

This is

A) borrowing money to pay wages. Is this even legal?!?!?!?

B) using New homes Bonus - Cllr Alexander ruled this out for this year when it was suggested tonusenthis to freeze council tax on the grounds it couldn't be used for recurring expenditure HYPOCRITE
Hang on economic infrastructure fund!?!?!?!? This is A) borrowing money to pay wages. Is this even legal?!?!?!? B) using New homes Bonus - Cllr Alexander ruled this out for this year when it was suggested tonusenthis to freeze council tax on the grounds it couldn't be used for recurring expenditure HYPOCRITE atorycouncil2014
  • Score: 0

1:45pm Tue 27 Nov 12

atorycouncil2014 says...

Hang on economic infrastructure fund!?!?!?!?

This is

A) borrowing money to pay wages. Is this even legal?!?!?!?

B) using New homes Bonus - Cllr Alexander ruled this out for this year when it was suggested to use this to freeze council tax on the grounds it couldn't be used for recurring expenditure HYPOCRITE
Hang on economic infrastructure fund!?!?!?!? This is A) borrowing money to pay wages. Is this even legal?!?!?!? B) using New homes Bonus - Cllr Alexander ruled this out for this year when it was suggested to use this to freeze council tax on the grounds it couldn't be used for recurring expenditure HYPOCRITE atorycouncil2014
  • Score: 0

1:45pm Tue 27 Nov 12

jmumof3 says...

No-one should be paid below the living wage. The idea is terrible, and its the main reason why so many people in the UK are surviving on social security. Most are working, usually full-time, but have no hope of ever bringing in enough to live on. Therefore they are entitled to Housing Benefit etc to meet the unavoidable gap. The government is the problem, perfectly happy to spend money on military ventures, and keeping the rich rich, but not prepared to provide councils with enough money to pay their staff a living wage. Aim your anger at the government not the council. They should be paying a living wage to all their staff, and the national minimum wage should be that living wage and no less (with controls on UK businesses that stop them taking their manufacturing etc to the third world to avoid paying living wages).
No-one should be paid below the living wage. The idea is terrible, and its the main reason why so many people in the UK are surviving on social security. Most are working, usually full-time, but have no hope of ever bringing in enough to live on. Therefore they are entitled to Housing Benefit etc to meet the unavoidable gap. The government is the problem, perfectly happy to spend money on military ventures, and keeping the rich rich, but not prepared to provide councils with enough money to pay their staff a living wage. Aim your anger at the government not the council. They should be paying a living wage to all their staff, and the national minimum wage should be that living wage and no less (with controls on UK businesses that stop them taking their manufacturing etc to the third world to avoid paying living wages). jmumof3
  • Score: 0

3:03pm Tue 27 Nov 12

Elephant says...

@jmumof3: are you seriously suggesting putting controls on free markets in order to increase labour costs? The result would be a lower standard of living. The main reason the living wage is at this level is precisely due to the burden of taxation.
@jmumof3: are you seriously suggesting putting controls on free markets in order to increase labour costs? The result would be a lower standard of living. The main reason the living wage is at this level is precisely due to the burden of taxation. Elephant
  • Score: 0

3:20pm Tue 27 Nov 12

Jeff_li says...

Why doesn't everyone take to asking these questions and points of view directly to James Alexander on twitter? - @jmalexander1982.

It's a more public forum and like him or loath him he does reply (because he has to). And if you make a point of view that is popular it has the possibility of being seen by hundreds if not thousands (through retweets etc) and thus something getting done about it… Most of the regular comment makers on this site have good points that deserved to be seen by a wider audience than just those who read this website…

Or do you lot just like to whinge at one another while your comments are cherry picked and censored by The Press. Just a thought.
Why doesn't everyone take to asking these questions and points of view directly to James Alexander on twitter? - @jmalexander1982. It's a more public forum and like him or loath him he does reply (because he has to). And if you make a point of view that is popular it has the possibility of being seen by hundreds if not thousands (through retweets etc) and thus something getting done about it… Most of the regular comment makers on this site have good points that deserved to be seen by a wider audience than just those who read this website… Or do you lot just like to whinge at one another while your comments are cherry picked and censored by The Press. Just a thought. Jeff_li
  • Score: 0

3:21pm Tue 27 Nov 12

Mr Trellis says...

Many people who would qualify for the increase to "a Living wage" will also be on some form of benefit . Every pound extra they get will be deducted from their payments. They will be no better off. The Government will save and in the case of CYC one way or another you will pay for it.
It is simply switching the cost of benefits to tax payers and employees .Why do you think all political parties support it
Many people who would qualify for the increase to "a Living wage" will also be on some form of benefit . Every pound extra they get will be deducted from their payments. They will be no better off. The Government will save and in the case of CYC one way or another you will pay for it. It is simply switching the cost of benefits to tax payers and employees .Why do you think all political parties support it Mr Trellis
  • Score: 0

3:29pm Tue 27 Nov 12

E=MC^2 says...

It should mean less tax credits are needed to top up earnings. Some of the wage increase will still end up in the local economy. And it puts to shame any private sector employers who could easily pay a living wage but don’t because they prefer to allow the state to subsidise their pay bill through higher tax credits.
Just to put the living wage in context the average of FTSE 100 directors packages went up by 23% last year to about £4.3m, so no wonder the country is in a mess.
It should mean less tax credits are needed to top up earnings. Some of the wage increase will still end up in the local economy. And it puts to shame any private sector employers who could easily pay a living wage but don’t because they prefer to allow the state to subsidise their pay bill through higher tax credits. Just to put the living wage in context the average of FTSE 100 directors packages went up by 23% last year [again?] to about £4.3m, so no wonder the country is in a mess. E=MC^2
  • Score: 0

4:01pm Tue 27 Nov 12

Tom6187 says...

The lowest pay grade at the council is currently £12,000 so I should think so as well. I bet most of the people screaming blue murder are on double that amount and then some. The cost of living (especially in York) has gone through the roof yet wages stay in the dark ages, fairs fair. Don't forget that most of these lower banded workers graft for a living, unlike the majority at the top who actually create things to make their jobs look important.
The lowest pay grade at the council is currently £12,000 so I should think so as well. I bet most of the people screaming blue murder are on double that amount and then some. The cost of living (especially in York) has gone through the roof yet wages stay in the dark ages, fairs fair. Don't forget that most of these lower banded workers graft for a living, unlike the majority at the top who actually create things to make their jobs look important. Tom6187
  • Score: 0

4:07pm Tue 27 Nov 12

Oaklands Resident says...

Anyone who reads the Council report - now on their web site - will see that the vast majority of staff being paid below the "living wage" are part timers working as cleaners or mid day supervisors in schools.

The schools should - because they get their income direct from the government - pay any increased wages. However, it looks like Labour are going to make Council Taxpayers pick up the £330,000 bill for paying a supplement to the 573 workers.

However, this won't make much difference to many of the part timers some of whom only work for a couple of hours each week (they have other jobs). Typically those on the lowest pay (£6.30 an hour) might get around £2 a week more in total.

The governments decision to increase income tax thresholds, which will take many out of paying any tax at all, will have a greater beneficial impact.
Anyone who reads the Council report - now on their web site - will see that the vast majority of staff being paid below the "living wage" are part timers working as cleaners or mid day supervisors in schools. The schools should - because they get their income direct from the government - pay any increased wages. However, it looks like Labour are going to make Council Taxpayers pick up the £330,000 bill for paying a supplement to the 573 workers. However, this won't make much difference to many of the part timers some of whom only work for a couple of hours each week (they have other jobs). Typically those on the lowest pay (£6.30 an hour) might get around £2 a week more in total. The governments decision to increase income tax thresholds, which will take many out of paying any tax at all, will have a greater beneficial impact. Oaklands Resident
  • Score: 0

5:02pm Tue 27 Nov 12

courier46 says...

While i agree with a lot of the comments made ,i do feel that it shoud be across the country £7.45 an hour and not York council alone.I`ve just been made redundant with no payout and gone for a job that pays £6.19 per hr.My wife works in a cafe and gets well below £ 7 per hr, so this better not result in us having to pay more council tax because we dont want to be paying for these wage rises as we cant afford it.
While i agree with a lot of the comments made ,i do feel that it shoud be across the country £7.45 an hour and not York council alone.I`ve just been made redundant with no payout and gone for a job that pays £6.19 per hr.My wife works in a cafe and gets well below £ 7 per hr, so this better not result in us having to pay more council tax because we dont want to be paying for these wage rises as we cant afford it. courier46
  • Score: 0

5:02pm Tue 27 Nov 12

courier46 says...

While i agree with a lot of the comments made ,i do feel that it shoud be across the country £7.45 an hour and not York council alone.I`ve just been made redundant with no payout and gone for a job that pays £6.19 per hr.My wife works in a cafe and gets well below £ 7 per hr, so this better not result in us having to pay more council tax because we dont want to be paying for these wage rises as we cant afford it.
While i agree with a lot of the comments made ,i do feel that it shoud be across the country £7.45 an hour and not York council alone.I`ve just been made redundant with no payout and gone for a job that pays £6.19 per hr.My wife works in a cafe and gets well below £ 7 per hr, so this better not result in us having to pay more council tax because we dont want to be paying for these wage rises as we cant afford it. courier46
  • Score: 0

6:49am Wed 28 Nov 12

roy_batty says...

£7:45 living wage is fab , but absolutely not fair when it's a 2 tiered minimum wage system!
This should be across the board I.e. public and private sector, not just public sector!
In effect a married couple , wife in private sector on minimum wage , no benefits, paying full council tax will be funding a 2 tier minimum pay system which they will not be part of!
This should not be funded out of any council tax monies, this just confirms to me that labour and the public sector is just becoming one big gravy train, because in effect it's just another rebate/benefit to a public sector employee.
£7:45 living wage is fab , but absolutely not fair when it's a 2 tiered minimum wage system! This should be across the board I.e. public and private sector, not just public sector! In effect a married couple , wife in private sector on minimum wage , no benefits, paying full council tax will be funding a 2 tier minimum pay system which they will not be part of! This should not be funded out of any council tax monies, this just confirms to me that labour and the public sector is just becoming one big gravy train, because in effect it's just another rebate/benefit to a public sector employee. roy_batty
  • Score: 0

11:13am Wed 28 Nov 12

inthesticks says...

Earning £7.45 an hour still isn`t enough to lift people out of poverty. 60% of households in poverty are `working` households. People earning this amount will still have to claim housing benefit and tax credits if they have children.
Earning £7.45 an hour still isn`t enough to lift people out of poverty. 60% of households in poverty are `working` households. People earning this amount will still have to claim housing benefit and tax credits if they have children. inthesticks
  • Score: 0

4:11pm Wed 28 Nov 12

oi oi savaloy says...

this is disgusting! its that james alexander buying votes from public sector employees on minimum wage just to make sure he gets back in at the next council election...

i'd write to my m.p. but he's too busy filling in expense claims forms to be interested, plus it's another vote winner for him as well... all at the expense of hardworking families in the private sector who pay their council tax... roll on next elections, i think this shabby bunch will be sent packing
this is disgusting! its that james alexander buying votes from public sector employees on minimum wage just to make sure he gets back in at the next council election... i'd write to my m.p. but he's too busy filling in expense claims forms to be interested, plus it's another vote winner for him as well... all at the expense of hardworking families in the private sector who pay their council tax... roll on next elections, i think this shabby bunch will be sent packing oi oi savaloy
  • Score: 0

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