HUNDREDS of York council workers will get a pay rise after plans to introduce a Living Wage were approved last night.

City of York Council's cabinet has agreed to use £338,000 from the authority's Economic Infrastructure Fund (EIF) to meet the increased wages of its lowest-paid staff next year, meaning they will earn £7.45 an hour.

The policy will be implemented from April following recommendations made by York's Fairness Commission. The EIF money will cover the 2013/14 costs of upping the pay of 573 employees on council contracts who currently earn less than the Living Wage.

The council has said the cost of the Living Wage from 2014/15 onwards will be met from “core budgets”, although it has yet to be confirmed precisely where this money will come from.

Conservative councillor Chris Steward told last night’s meeting that council staff should be “valued appropriately” but the Living Wage was “the wrong thing to do at this stage”. However, Coun Julie Gunnell, cabinet member for corporate services, said it was an “ethical stance” and the extra money would be a “lifeline” for some employees.

The cabinet also approved five per cent increases in charges for a series of council services from January, including cremations and some waste and library fees. The authority said the increases are in line with inflation and will bring in an extra £32,000 this year and £128,000 in 2013/14 to help frontline services.

Meanwhile, the Labour group has officially nominated Coun Gunnell as next year's Lord Mayor of York. She will step down from her cabinet role in May.