Workers set for pay rise as Cornwall Council gains Living Wage Foundation accreditation

More workers in Cornwall than ever before will be paid a ‘living wage’ from next month, thanks to Cornwall Council gaining Living Wage Foundation accreditation.

Cornwall has the lowest wages in northern Europe, significantly lower than the UK average. To start changing this situation, Cornwall Council pledged to adopt the Living Wage Foundation rate rather than the minimum wage in 2015 as the lowest rate of pay for our directly-employed staff.

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The difference is currently £9 per hour compared to £7.83.

Now the council has moved to gain Living Wage Foundation accreditation, which will means extending the scheme to the contractors we work with, ensuring their staff are also paid at the higher rate.

The change will affect around 800 employees, who will see an average salary rise of 7.7%.

Welcoming the accreditation, Julian German, deputy leader of Cornwall Council said:  “As a major employer in Cornwall, the Council is stepping up to ensure that local people are pulled out of the low pay trap and are reaping the benefits within their local economies.

“Our challenge is now to all major private sector employers to pay the Living Wage to their direct and contracted staff and help tackle the broader challenge of low pay in Cornwall.

“Spreading this movement wider and across more sectors will help boost Cornwall’s economy, and will help those earning below the average wage. 

“The Council has demonstrated our commitment to build a prosperous Cornwall while protecting and improving the lives of our residents – now we want others to join us.”

Research, and the experience of those who have already started paying the Living Wage, shows the huge benefits such a change can bring, not just for the employee receiving the enhanced wages, but also for the business paying them.

Nine out of ten businesses across the UK say it has improved the reputation of their business, while three-quarters have reported better motivated staff, and lower turnover rates.

The benefits for businesses of paying a Living Wage are many and have far reaching impacts – reduced staff turnover and sickness, an improvement in morale and productivity and beyond that, creating a ‘virtuous circle’ with higher pay spent locally boosting the local economy.