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Croydon Council will not sign up to London Living Wage

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THE council will not sign up to a scheme which supports paying employees a "living wage" because it does not want to commit itself to increases it cannot afford, a senior councillor has said. The London Living Wage is to increase by 25p to £8.55 per hour, Mayor Boris Johnson announced earlier this month. Some 200 employers have backed the scheme, which is not binding, since it was launched in 2005. Five councils have signed up, with a further five in the process of being accredited, but Sara Bashford, cabinet member for corporate services, says Croydon will not be joining them. "What I don't want to do is commit the council to a guaranteed increase if we can't afford it," she said. Labour said the Tory-led council had got its priorities "all wrong". Mr Johnson said the new wage, calculated by the Greater London Authority, would give people "a decent standard of living". Croydon said only seven of its employees are paid less than the recently announced increase. Cllr Bashford said those staff would receive pay rises, but added: "I wouldn't want to guarantee that every time the Mayor increases the living wage that we have to as well, because we don't know what our budgets will be. "The London Living Wage is the Mayor's idea. It's not done with the consultation of boroughs and it's not done with the expectation that everyone will follow it. "Up until now we have always been able to meet it. I'm just not willing to commit us to something in the future when we don't know what it would be." Simon Hall, Labour's spokesman for finance, said the response betrayed the council's priorities. "Not only should the council be paying its staff a living wage but they should also be applying it to its contractors," he said. "This comes at a time when the council has spent a large amount of money on a new headquarters and has significant cash balances. "To say they don't want to commit to meeting future increases to basic standards of pay shows a lack of commitment to the staff that the council employs. "If you value your staff you should be prepared to pay them a living wage." Hounslow, Lambeth, Camden, Islington and Lewisham are part of the scheme while Ealing, Enfield, Haringey, Southwark and Tower Hamlets are in the process of signing up.

Croydon Council will not sign up to London Living Wage


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