No plans for Council to introduce real living wage

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There are no plans to introduce the so-called ‘real living wage’ at East Renfrewshire Council.

The local authority is one of 16 council not currently signed up for Scottish Living Wage Accreditation, which involves a commitment to pay all workers the minimum rate of £8.75 an hour.

A report by the Smith Institute – an independent research group – has claimed that increasing the minimum wage from £7.83 could boost public services.

It also recommended that councils find a way of using powers to and financial leverage to make businesses pay the ‘real living wage’.

But a spokesman for East Renfrewshire Council said: “The council pays all staff the Scottish living wage and all costs related to wages are calculated as part of our standard finance processes.

“At present there are no plans to apply for accreditation.”

Scottish Living Wage Accreditation is an initiative overseen by the Poverty Alliance, the Living Wage Foundation and the Scottish Government.

Currently 16 local authorities are signed-up to the scheme, including neighbouring Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire Councils.

The report highlighted the role that leading private and public sector employers such as the council, universities, hospitals and football clubs can have on leading residents out of poverty.

It recommended that organisations set clear targets for ‘real living wage’ take-up in their regions and develop a plan for how that will be met.

It also recommended that authority’s make support or business development and investment in skills contingent upon firms paying a fair wage.

Paul Hunter, deputy director of the Smith Institute, said: “Big employers often like to talk about the positive role they play in their local community.

“One way that they can go beyond the warm words is to pay their staff the living wage and demand their suppliers do the same.

“This is not just about good corporate citizenship. Evidence shows workers paid fairly are more productive.

“And, as our research shows, the living wage can also provide a boost for the local economy on which established employers are dependent.”

Tess Lanning, director of the Living Wage Foundation, added: “By championing the real living wage based on what people need to get by, leading mayors and local authorities can build successful, dynamic local economies – and most importantly ensure that the proceeds from growth are fairly shared.

“With over 5.5 million people still paid too little to live on, the real living wage is a key plank of any strategy seeking to tackle the UK’s problems of in-work poverty, regional inequality, and weak productivity.”