8 May 2013

For the progressives on the new Cornwall Council there is an important opportunity: to bring in a living wage for all the low paid people employed by the council and for people employed by contractors to the council. It would also be a pressing example set for the rest of the county’s employers. The living wage is currently £7.45 an hour, an annual equivalent of £14 300 for a 37 hour week.

I have been urging this for some time and presented some arguments for it: see the posts at the foot. Jude Robinson, when a Labour member of Cornwall Council, unsuccessfully proposed last autumn that the council should look to see “how we might fund a living wage for low paid staff”. The Labour, MK, and Green parties all support a living wage. The political foundations are in place. Now what is needed is fierce will.

We should not build Cornwall’s prosperity on the backs of the poor and low paid. We should pay decent wages, an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work.

To put all council employees on the full living wage would cost about £1.5 million a year.That is probably too large an amount to meet all at once but we can make progress. Let me suggest a way.

Back to Jude Robinson, the council should state now its serious intention to pay all its low paid employees the living wage and its intention to move towards that in affordable stages.

The council should investigate how it can fulfil its serious intention. The aim should be to make a realistic time table with planned stages towards becoming a full living wage authority.

Contractors should be informed that as the council moves towards paying a full living wage it will look for contracts to include the living wage pari passu.

The timetable should be realistic but not drawn out to the crack of doom. What is needed is political will and sensible planning.

Earlier posts on Cornwall living wage
Cheers, Jude Robinson 29 October 2013
A proper Cornish wage 10 May 2012
Progress to a living wage 29 June 2011
A living wage for Cornwall 17 May 2011
The pro-Cornish wage 31 August 2010

And these are relevant
Beyond the bottom line: the challenges and opportunities of a living wage by Kayte LAWTON and Matthew PENNYCOCK, IPPR and Resolution Foundation 20 January 2013
Low pay Britain by Matthew PENNYCOOK and Matthew WHITTAKER, Resolution Foundation 29 September 2012
What price a living wage? Matthew PENNYCOOK, Resolution Foundation 7 May 2012
Minimum wage: maximum impact Alan MANNING, Resolution Foundation 17 April 2012