Hampshire County Council bosses reject bid to raise workers' living standards

County council leader Roy Perry says Hampshire offers a better package than the living wage

County council leader Roy Perry says Hampshire offers a better package than the living wage

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

COUNTY bosses have rejected a bid to raise the living standards of thousands of workers across Hampshire.

Eastleigh Borough Council and Southampton City Council have already introduced the so called “living wage”, designed to reduce poverty as the cost of living soars.

But the Tory-led county council said it would not be following suit because county workers receive a good deal already and the wage boost would cost jobs.

County leader Roy Perry said: “In short Hampshire already offers a package which is better than the living wage.

“We offer benefits which are more generous than many employers, with elements such as pension, annual leave entitlement and sick pay all above the statutory requirement.

“This means the total package on offer in Hampshire takes staff above the living wage.”

The hourly wage boost would have been £7.45, compared to current minimum wage of £6.31 an hour and would have affected more than 4,000 staff, including cleaners, care workers and catering staff.

Research by the Living Wage Foundation found that 80 per cent of employers believe it boosted the quality of work among staff and that there was a 25 per cent fall in absenteeism But a report for the employment in Hampshire County Council committee warned it would not be without costs.

It states that the £1.5m price tag of introducing it would squeeze out 71 jobs.

County council leader Roy Perry said: “The living wage would add costs to the county’s wage bill and every school in Hampshire. This would generate upward pressure on the budget when we are looking for downward pressures.

“Any increase to the council’s wage bill will mean more savings are needed across the organisation, which could lead to job losses.

“At a time of on-going financial constraint I want to be protecting people’s jobs.”

But the wage boost rejection has drawn criticism from opposition politicians and unions.

Tim Cutter, branch secretary for Hampshire Unison, said: “I think it’s disgraceful, because other local authorities have signed up to the living wage in areas where the cost of living is much lower than Hampshire.

Daily Echo:

Tim Cutter of Unison

“This will send a message that the county council does not value the contribution its staff makes.

“The old argument that it will cost jobs was disproved with the introduction of the minimum wage.”

Mr Cutter said his members were already angry because the county council failed to pass on a £250 payment from the Government to council workers earning under £21,000 after it implemented a two-year pay rise in 2010.

Lib Dem Leader Keith House said: “I am very disappointed that this idea, initially greeted with enthusiasm by all parties, has been ruled out by Hampshire Conservatives without even a discussion with its own staff.

“Evidence shows the living wage increase staff productivity and improves staff retention, reducing recruitment and training costs and saving organisations money over time, quite apart from improving quality of life and, for some, dependence on benefits.”

Comments (9)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

11:25am Sun 13 Apr 14

From the sidelines says...

Well done, Hampshire Conservatives.

Southampton and Eastleigh are, as is usual, courting the 'dependency' vote.
Well done, Hampshire Conservatives. Southampton and Eastleigh are, as is usual, courting the 'dependency' vote. From the sidelines
  • Score: -10

11:50am Sun 13 Apr 14

bigfella777 says...

So if you don't get a living wage does that mean that you are dead?
So if you don't get a living wage does that mean that you are dead? bigfella777
  • Score: -6

12:11pm Sun 13 Apr 14

skeptik says...

If we were to tackle the huge armies of wasters in non jobs much beloved by the higher echelons of councils - the problem in this country is wealth creators are carrying far too much baggage - all on high incomes too. I am truly ashamed to say I was a member of the conservative party for 41 years - however the shame would be with me whatever party I had supported - please vote for any party that assists in putting an end to the present system - it appears to attract failures after status - time to put them right.
If we were to tackle the huge armies of wasters in non jobs much beloved by the higher echelons of councils - the problem in this country is wealth creators are carrying far too much baggage - all on high incomes too. I am truly ashamed to say I was a member of the conservative party for 41 years - however the shame would be with me whatever party I had supported - please vote for any party that assists in putting an end to the present system - it appears to attract failures after status - time to put them right. skeptik
  • Score: 4

12:53pm Sun 13 Apr 14

tootle says...

It is all kidology. The only reason the living wage is in excess of the minimum wage is the fact that the Govt taxes the minimum wage. If it didn't putting the min wage up by approx 30p(instead of over £1) would give the same take home pay. It is the Government who are keeping these worker on a "povert" wage. We already pay over the minimum wage but if forced to pay the living wage would just pack up and retire.
It is all kidology. The only reason the living wage is in excess of the minimum wage is the fact that the Govt taxes the minimum wage. If it didn't putting the min wage up by approx 30p(instead of over £1) would give the same take home pay. It is the Government who are keeping these worker on a "povert" wage. We already pay over the minimum wage but if forced to pay the living wage would just pack up and retire. tootle
  • Score: -1

1:41pm Sun 13 Apr 14

IanUnite says...

Out of Touch Roy Perry doesnt want a living wage because it means there is less chance of of the lowest paid depending on Wonga Pay day loans!! Wonga by the way donate big money to the Tories. Its in the interest of Perry and his ilk to keep wages low. The Tories are 'dependent' on this. They are the real dependency culture!!As for jobs.

How many redundancies has his Council Junta overseen in the last four years? Protecting jobs? What rubbish
Out of Touch Roy Perry doesnt want a living wage because it means there is less chance of of the lowest paid depending on Wonga Pay day loans!! Wonga by the way donate big money to the Tories. Its in the interest of Perry and his ilk to keep wages low. The Tories are 'dependent' on this. They are the real dependency culture!!As for jobs. How many redundancies has his Council Junta overseen in the last four years? Protecting jobs? What rubbish IanUnite
  • Score: 7

1:52pm Sun 13 Apr 14

cliffwalker says...

Employers who are unable to pay a living wage are depending on the government to make it up with benefits. This seems an unfair subsidy to bad employment practice (and bad employers).

It causes a drain on the taxpayer, many of whom are on very modest incomes themselves, in supporting the underpaid and encourages on the one hand resentment of those receiving the benefits and on the other an encouragement to apply for them.
Employers who are unable to pay a living wage are depending on the government to make it up with benefits. This seems an unfair subsidy to bad employment practice (and bad employers). It causes a drain on the taxpayer, many of whom are on very modest incomes themselves, in supporting the underpaid and encourages on the one hand resentment of those receiving the benefits and on the other an encouragement to apply for them. cliffwalker
  • Score: 4

4:38pm Sun 13 Apr 14

WalkingOnAWire says...

skeptik wrote:
If we were to tackle the huge armies of wasters in non jobs much beloved by the higher echelons of councils - the problem in this country is wealth creators are carrying far too much baggage - all on high incomes too. I am truly ashamed to say I was a member of the conservative party for 41 years - however the shame would be with me whatever party I had supported - please vote for any party that assists in putting an end to the present system - it appears to attract failures after status - time to put them right.
So who do you recommend voting for?
[quote][p][bold]skeptik[/bold] wrote: If we were to tackle the huge armies of wasters in non jobs much beloved by the higher echelons of councils - the problem in this country is wealth creators are carrying far too much baggage - all on high incomes too. I am truly ashamed to say I was a member of the conservative party for 41 years - however the shame would be with me whatever party I had supported - please vote for any party that assists in putting an end to the present system - it appears to attract failures after status - time to put them right.[/p][/quote]So who do you recommend voting for? WalkingOnAWire
  • Score: 1

6:40pm Sun 13 Apr 14

skeptik says...

I thought vote for any party was self explanatory - do you need someone to recommend a party to vote for? JHC!
I thought vote for any party was self explanatory - do you need someone to recommend a party to vote for? JHC! skeptik
  • Score: 0

10:16pm Sun 13 Apr 14

tootle says...

cliffwalker wrote:
Employers who are unable to pay a living wage are depending on the government to make it up with benefits. This seems an unfair subsidy to bad employment practice (and bad employers).

It causes a drain on the taxpayer, many of whom are on very modest incomes themselves, in supporting the underpaid and encourages on the one hand resentment of those receiving the benefits and on the other an encouragement to apply for them.
Many people on benefits are also tax payers. If they were not paying tax then many would not need benefits. Many people earning the "living wage" will also qualify for benefits. The Government says the "minimum" wage is that needed to live on, then it taxes this income, then it pays out benefits. Successive Governments do nothing to address this paradox. Then along comes the current Labour leader with the idea of a living wage. No mention of reducing the tax burden enough to take those he says are living in poverty out of said poverty. Then the Unions jump on the bandwagon and say the employees should earn more. Why - because it sounds very, very good to the electorate and they really, really want your votes. remember that above the tax allowance level(which is set below the minimum wage) approximately 30p in every pound earnt goes straight to the taxman, add in the employers NI as well and the living wage as opposed to the minimum wage will be a nice little earner for the treasury. Not to mention the net saving on benefits. A win win situation and all at the expense of the nasty employers. Hmm Elections next year.
[quote][p][bold]cliffwalker[/bold] wrote: Employers who are unable to pay a living wage are depending on the government to make it up with benefits. This seems an unfair subsidy to bad employment practice (and bad employers). It causes a drain on the taxpayer, many of whom are on very modest incomes themselves, in supporting the underpaid and encourages on the one hand resentment of those receiving the benefits and on the other an encouragement to apply for them.[/p][/quote]Many people on benefits are also tax payers. If they were not paying tax then many would not need benefits. Many people earning the "living wage" will also qualify for benefits. The Government says the "minimum" wage is that needed to live on, then it taxes this income, then it pays out benefits. Successive Governments do nothing to address this paradox. Then along comes the current Labour leader with the idea of a living wage. No mention of reducing the tax burden enough to take those he says are living in poverty out of said poverty. Then the Unions jump on the bandwagon and say the employees should earn more. Why - because it sounds very, very good to the electorate and they really, really want your votes. remember that above the tax allowance level(which is set below the minimum wage) approximately 30p in every pound earnt goes straight to the taxman, add in the employers NI as well and the living wage as opposed to the minimum wage will be a nice little earner for the treasury. Not to mention the net saving on benefits. A win win situation and all at the expense of the nasty employers. Hmm Elections next year. tootle
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree