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UKIP warn Labour that living wage may not be viable at Lichfield District Council

Labour have been urged not to make unfunded spending commitments at Lichfield District Council.

Cllr Sue Woodward, who represents Chase Terrace and is the leader of the opposition group at the local authority, believes the council should pay all employees the living wage.

She claims a previous pledge to implement the pay standardisation – currently set at £7.85 – had not been acted on.

Cllr John Mills

Cllr John Mills

But Cllr John Mills, UKIP’s representative for Fazeley, believes the funding has to be there to make such changes.

He said: “If it’s economically viable for the council to introduce the living wage then I would support it.

“But Labour needs to think things through, as we can’t introduce the living wage and then find there is another area of council that needs funding.

“They need to remember that the council doesn’t have an unlimited budget, and that the government are reducing the pot for authorities every year. As politicians we’ve some difficult decisions ahead of us.

“It has been a real eye opener for me as a newly elected representative to see how much councils struggle to meet their financial commitments.”

But Cllr Woodward says the UKIP representative has not seen the bigger picture.

Cllr Sue Woodward

Cllr Sue Woodward

She explained: “This is a complete misunderstanding of the way living wage operates from Cllr Mills.

“It is now clear that a great deal of poverty is suffered by those in work who have to claim benefits to supplement their wages.

“I would have thought someone with UKIP’s background would be all for ensuring the taxpayer gets good value for money and reduces the benefits bill.

“It’s only by paying a decent living wage that we’re going to reduce reliance on in-work benefits.”

Lichfield District Council’s Conservative leader, Cllr Mike Wilcox, believes it isn’t the right time to make the change.

He said: “The Government are introducing a new living wage from next year and there’s only a small amount of people not already above that level who are with us.

“It is such a small number affected, that before too long I anticipate that everyone will be above that anyway.

“We would be doubling up the work to do it now and then do it again next year.”

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2 Comments

  1. Chris

    9th September, 2015 at 11:21 am

    “We would be doubling up the work to do it now and then do it again next year.”
    Erm. If you put the lowest paid up to £7.85 an hour now, then next year when the rebranded minimum wage goes up to £7.20 an hour surely you have to do nothing.

  2. Rob

    9th September, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    ““I would have thought someone with UKIP’s background would be all for ensuring the taxpayer gets good value for money and reduces the benefits bill.

    “It’s only by paying a decent living wage that we’re going to reduce reliance on in-work benefits.””

    So council staff will automaticaly receive the benefit in their salaries each month instead of having it as a separate claim. Either way, the tax-payer has to fund it.