Hartlepool Council bosses ‘encourage’ firms to pay Living Wage

Denise Ogden
Denise Ogden

COUNCIL bosses are to “encourage” firms and organisations that have contracts with a local authority to introduce a Living Wage for employers.

In September, Hartlepool Borough Council became a Living Wage authority which meant 405 council employees saw their pay rise from £6.45 to £7.26 an hour.

Now the council has agreed to encourage firms they contract with, through commissioning arrangements, to introduce a Living Wage and that other employers be encouraged as well.

The council’s finance and policy committee also agreed that as part of the renewal of all contracts over the next six to 12 months, suppliers will be asked whether they pay the Living Wage to their employees.

A report will go back in a year to review the take-up of the Living Wage across the organisations involved in any council contracts agreed over that period of time.

Denise Ogden, the council’s director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, presented a report which provided the background to the council’s approach to the Living Wage and committee members noted while the adoption of the Living Wage was currently quite low, the principle was more “widely accepted”.

A report said: “If the Living Wage was mandated, it was highly likely such negotiations would result in an increased cost to the council as suppliers were unlikely to voluntarily absorb the costs of such a change in their contract terms.

“It was therefore suggested that the council adopt an approach based on encouragement to implement the Living Wage initiative throughout its supply chain and to particularly encourage other Hartlepool employers to pay our Hartlepool Living Wage to their employees.”

In September, council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher, said the savings made from moving from the mayoral system to a new form of governance allowed the council to introduce the Hartlepool Living Wage.

Those to benefit at the council include 351 council workers and 54 non-teaching school employees. The Living Wage is a national campaign 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.