Council workers in Northumberland are benefiting as a national salary initiative has been introduced for staff.
Implementing its commitment set out during budget announcements earlier in the year, the county’s local authority is now paying the living wage months before the Government rolls out its scheme across the country.
As a result, no employee of Northumberland County Council will be paid less than £7.85 per hour and there will be an increase for approximately 1,400 workers, including school staff.
A living wage is defined as the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their basic needs – including housing, clothing and nutrition.
This amount of money is more than the statutory minimum wage.
A working group was set up by the authority two years ago specifically to plan the introduction of the Northumberland living wage to its employees.
Leader of the county council, Grant Davey, said: “Our decision to implement this is in recognition of the excellent work our employees do – not just for the authority, but more importantly for the benefit of the residents of Northumberland.
“We are living and working in tough economic times and it is no secret we are having to make substantial savings. However, ethically and morally, the council feels strongly that this is something we should do.
“Through showing our commitment to ethical employment, we are aiming to boost morale as well as the local economy through higher incomes for local people.”
Affected staff will now receive an additional amount of between 41p and 79p an hour. The Northumberland living wage will be reviewed on an annual basis by the council.