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Council celebrates Living Wage Employer accreditation

The council, which has been paying its own staff the Living Wage since the start of April this year, has received this important accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation.

Now staff and employees of contractors who fit the Living Wage Foundation criteria will receive a minimum hourly wage of £8.25 by April 1 next year.

The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually. The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living using the ‘Minimum Income Standard’ for the UK.

Decisions about what to include in this standard are set by the public; it is a social consensus about what people need to make ends meet.

Milton Keynes Council leader Cllr Pete Marland (pictured) said: “At the council we strive for a fair and equitable approach to paying our employees – and ensuring, where we can, that our contractors do the same – so we are really pleased to have received the official ‘stamp of approval’ from the Living Wage Foundation.”

Employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis.

The Living Wage enjoys cross-party support, with public backing from the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, and the situation is reflected in Milton Keynes, with opposition party leaders Cllr Edith Bald (Conservative) and Douglas McCall (Liberal Democrats) backing Cllr Marland (Labour).

Living Wage Foundation director Sarah Vero said: “Weare delighted to welcome Milton Keynes Council to the Living Wage movement as an accredited employer. This is a huge commitment to tackling the challenge of in-work poverty, particularly in challenging sectors such as social care.

“The best employers are voluntarily signing up to pay the Living Wage now. We hope that the leadership shown by the council will encourage other businesses in Milton Keynes to review their own pay and reward packages, and consider how they too could become Living Wage employers.

“The Living Wage is a robust calculation that reflects the real cost of living, rewarding a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay.”

The council has joined more than 2,000 UK employers, ranging from independent printers, bookshops and breweries to well-known companies such as Nationwide, Aviva and Unilever, with Living Wage accreditation.

Sarah Vero said: “These businesses recognise that clinging to the national minimum wage is not good for business. Customers expect better than that.”

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