COUNCILLORS have backed plans that could see hundreds of low paid council employees receive a boost to their pay packet.
Hartlepool Borough Council’s finance and policy committee has endorsed plans to introduce the Living Wage for 405 employees, which would see their pay rise from £6.45 to £7.26 an hour from September.
The plans look set to cost the local authority £155,000 a year which will be funded by savings after the mayoral system was scrapped in favour of the committee system.
The Living Wage is a national campaign set up in 2011 and run by the Living Wage Foundation to address poverty.
It encourages businesses and councils to sign up to discretionary national Living Wage of £7.45 an hour, or as close to it they can afford.
The finance and policy committee met yesterday at the Civic Centre to discuss the plans.
Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher, who is chairman of the committee, said: “The savings that we have made from moving from the mayoral system to a new form of governance means that we are able to introduce the Hartlepool Living Wage.
“This will uplift the lowest paid council employees and we are delighted to be able to that.”
Coun Akers-Belcher confirmed the report will now be referred to the next meeting of the full council, which is due to take place on September 5.
A report by the council chief executive Dave Stubbs outlined the plans and said Living Wage employers report improved morale, lower turn over of staff and less time off sick.
Those that stand to benefit include 351 council workers and 54 non-teaching school employees.
Mr Stubbs added that a Living Wage makes sense in relation to the potential impact on the local economy too, as those on low incomes are more likely to spend their money locally which can help to safeguard and create jobs in Hartlepool.
Also, that lower paid employees are more likely to be claiming benefits and any increase in their pay may reduce the amount of benefit they receive which will create a saving on the council’s benefits budget.
The report added that due to the tapering nature of some benefits, it is unlikely employees will be worse off as a result of receiving a Living Wage.