Harrogate Borough Council agrees to pay staff Living Wage of £8.25 per hour

Harrogate Borough Council has committed to paying its staff the living wage of £8.25 per hour from April 2017.

Thursday, 27th October 2016, 3:44 pm
Updated Monday, 31st October 2016, 8:55 am
Harrogate Borough Council

Harrogate Borough Council’s Human Resource Committee met on Wednesday night, October 26, to discuss three possible rates of pay for its employees.

Currently all eligible employees earn the Harrogate Supplement of £7.85 an hour but the committee discussed raising this to bring it in line with the Living Wage Foundations’ recommendation from November 2015.

The committee also included in its report the possibility of raising it in line with the foundation's new recommendation which is set to be announced on November 1.

However, Coun Richard Cooper, leader of Harrogate Borough Council, confirmed that the recommendation to increase the Harrogate Supplement to £8.25 per hour would be taken to full council.

He said: "Our staff are the backbone of all we do. Each and every day they help people.

"Whether that is through swimming lessons for kids, helping people from being homeless into council properties, ensuring that our parks and gardens maintain their award-winning beauty or any number of other ways, they work tirelessly.

"That is why, when reviewing salaries every year, we want to reward them as best we can within the budgets available.

"The council is a good employer and, as well as rewarding our staff at an appropriate level, we want to set an example to other employers in the district.”

Since April 2015, all employees at Harrogate Borough Council have been paid a minimum of £7.85 an hour.

However, in February, the council voted against paying all eligible employees the Living Wage rate of £8.25 an hour after concluding they were too constrained by budget cuts.

Harrogate Local Government branch secretary David Houlgate said he was disappointed by this decision and called on the council to implement the foundation’s new recommendation.

He said: “We were disappointed last time round. We had already approved the living wage so it would seem to us that paying the living wage is a continued commitment.

“We just anticipated that if the living wage was to increase then that increase would be factored in.

“We believe it will increase moral, performance and output. There are 153 authorities that do pay this already with another five committed to paying it as authorities are often an example for others to follow.

“We accept that the council has got to watch the pennies and the pounds but the workforce is probably its most significant resource.”

The new living wage of £8.25 will come into force in April and will cover 70 eligible staff at a cost of £26.2k, £11.4k less than in the

If the Council were to offer in 2016/17 a living wage rate of £8.25 (annualised basic pay of £15,917), it would cover 70 eligible staff and cost £26.2k. £11.4k less than the council's existing budget provision.

However, if the council agreed to offer the foundation’s illustrative rate of £8.65 an hour it would cover 246 staff and cost £101.1k, requiring a budgetary growth of £63.5k.