OPINION: New council leader offers 'context' to 25p a week rise for lowest paid workers

Voice of the Fens

Voice of the Fens - Credit: Archant

In March, opposition leader Lucy Nethsingha spoke in favour of a Labour motion calling for the county council to become an accredited employer with the Real Living Wage Foundation. 

The Conservative majority rejected it, even though the council ’s lowest hourly rate is £9.25 compared to the foundation’s recommendation of £9.50 an hour.  

“It’s through efficiency and productivity that we will be able to afford to pay everybody a much better wage,” said council leader Steve Count. 

Tory councillor Steve Tierney noted that “we forget that if the council is going to pay more through staff than there are only a limited number of places that that rise can come from”. 

Cllr Nethsingha said the cost per annum to the council would be an additional £7,343.  

Fast forward to May, the Tories are out of power and Lib Dems, Labour, and independents are swept to office.  

On Tuesday Cllr Nethsingha, now leader, gave context to the £7,343. 

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She axed two committees and trimmed the budget for councillors’ allowances. 

Total annual saving: £72,000.