Kingston Council votes to adopt the London Living Wage

35 Kingston Council staff are set to receive an increase in their hourly pay following a decision by local Councillors that the authority should adopt the London Living Wage.

The Council will also be encouraging local schools to follow suit, potentially extending the benefit to a further 300 staff.

It will see staff at Kingston Council paid a minimum hourly rate of £9.15, up from the current £8.67. The new rate will be adopted from April 2016, with affected staff receiving a retrospective one-off payment at the end of each financial year, starting in March 2017.

The decision was made days before the Chancellor, George Osborne, used his Budget speech to announce a national Living Wage that will see over 25s paid at least £7.20 per hour from April 2016, rising to £9 an hour by 2020.

Councillor Eric Humphrey, Lead Member for Treasury, Finance and Human Resources said:

“Treating people properly is vital to the success of our borough. We want Kingston upon Thames to not only be a place where people want to live and visit, but also a place where they want to work. The Council has around 1,400 staff not working in schools – treating them fairly is our duty as a responsible employer. This is why we have taken the decision to introduce the London Living Wage.

“The biggest impact will be felt by those in schools, with 300 members of staff benefiting. This will need to be approved by the individual school governing bodies and we are actively encouraging this.

“These are tough financial times and at one level it would be easy for the council to claim this was simply not affordable, but that would not be the right thing to do. It is important as the local authority that we are seen to do what is correct.

“The employees affected are responsible for delivering some of our most important services, so if they are to give of their best and stay with us they must be paid a fair wage that they can live on.”