Sutton Council will not pay staff London Living Wage
Sutton Council will not pay its staff what London Mayor Boris Johnson called "fair remuneration for workers" as it would result in job cuts, a councillor has claimed.
The London Living Wage scheme was introduced in a bid to encourage businesses to pay workers more fairly. The rate is worked out as the minimum cost of living in the capital, plus a small amount extra and was raised from £8.55 to £8.80 this week.
It is a voluntary scheme for companies to sign up to and, so far, 214 employers in the capital have joined but Sutton Council is not set to join them on the grounds it would have to cut jobs if it raised the wages it gives to its lowest-paid workers - although other London councils have joined.
The issue of paying the London Living Wage was raised at Monday night's meeting of Sutton Council. Councillor John Drage said: "The outlook for the borough's budget is that it will decline. If we paid the London Living Wage then council staff would have to lose their jobs.
Councillor John Drage said reduced grants from the Government means Sutton Council could not pay the London Living Wage without cutting jobs
"Why can't we pay the London Living Wage? Because this Government is having to pay huge debts left by [the Labour Party]."
Eight London boroughs, including Ealing, Camden and Lambeth, as well as the Greater London Authority, have managed to sign up to the London Living Wage.
Mr Johnson, announcing the increase in the London Living Wage on Monday, said: "More and more London firms are recognising the benefits of fair remuneration for all of their workforce.
Paying the London Living Wage ensures hard working Londoners are helped to make ends meet, providing a boost not only for their personal quality of life but delivering indisputable economic dividends to employers too.
"This in turn is good for London’s productivity and growth. It is extremely heartening to see major new companies signed up this year but we need more converts. I hope we can spur on even more organisations to do the right thing."
The legal minimum wage in the UK is £6.31 but studies show the cost of living in London is much higher than in other parts of the country.