A living wage will help local people and our economy

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In response to Andrew Paulson’s letter in last week’s Dispatch (‘How Will Council Pay For Boost To Workers’ wages?’), Ashfield District Council should be applauded for taking the lead and setting an example to employers in the area to pay a wage that hardworking families can live on rather than just survive.

The number of council employees who will likely gain is only just into double figures, and many of these only work part time. It will cost the council far less than the one per cent pay rises it has budgeted for its employees, and not paid to them over the last three years. Indeed the total budget for staff wages has been underspent for these years.

The council budget will not need any extra funding from the public to pay for this.

At the same time the council has been using fewer employees to continue delivering its existing services. Many employees have taken voluntary redundancy and some have been made compulsorily redundancy.

As part of signing up to the national Living Wage campaign — which even Mayor Boris Johnson in London recognises the need for — the council will be encouraging other local employers to also take this step.

We want decent pay and conditions for all employees — whether working in the public or private sectors. The result of more money for local workers will mean they will have more to spend in the local economy.

RICHARD BUCKWELL,

Chairman,

Ashfield UNISON branch.