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Council against London Living Wage
Kensington & Chelsea Chronicle
Emma Heseltine

December 13, 2011
View the Original Article

Kensington and Chelsea Council has refused to pay its staff at least the London Living Wage.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has set the minimum wage for Londoners to be able to get by at £8.30 an hour, but at a meeting on Wednesday (7) the council voted down a motion to pay its staff at least that amount.

The motion was brought by Labour Councillor Todd Foreman, who said that some of the council's staff were not being paid the London Living wage.

He said: "Anyone doing an honest day's work should be paid a living wage, yet the Conservatives who run Kensington and Chelsea Council are happy to see the lowest paid staff remain in poverty.

"The Tories' actions show how empty their party's promises regarding opportunity for all really are."

But the council has defended its decision, saying that paying all staff the London Living Wage would increase its costs, meaning council tax bills for everyone in the borough would rise to pay the wages of those working in the public sector.

Councillor Warwick Lightfoot, head of finance, said: "The council does not support the adoption of the London Living Wage.

"The council, and contractors working on its behalf, should instead offer rates of pay that recruit, retain and motivate their employees.

"It is the role of the national government through the social security system to top up earnings in relation to family circumstances.

"Moreover, if the council and its contractors did adopt the London Living Wage, it could add anything up to £1m to the council's costs, equivalent to a 1.% increase in council tax, increasing the household bills of many low income families not working in local government.

"Local and national public spending has to be paid for by the private sector and most people who are self employed or work for private employers do not receive the pay or other benefits of public sector employees."