Northumberland has a very high proportion of workers on low income levels yet, at last week’s Council meeting, the Leader of Northumberland County Council repeatedly refused to welcome the introduction by the Government of the National Living Wage.
The following question was formally put to him by the Leader of Northumberland Conservatives, Coun Peter Jackson:
Northumberland Conservatives have long been supporters of the Living Wage as a means of reducing income inequality and promoting social justice. In fact we were the first Group on the County Council to propose that this Council pays the Living Wage as an example to the rest of the county.
So now will the Leader join with us in welcoming the introduction by the Government of the National Living Wage?
Will the Leader also welcome the news that the National Living Wage will benefit 1 in 4 workers in Northumberland and agree with Torsten Bell of the Resolution Foundation that "the National Living Wage will transform the low pay landscape in the North East with Northumberland the most affected area."?
Coun Peter Jackson said, “Here we have proof that yet again people on low incomes are being let down by Labour. Not only did Labour refuse to support our original proposals to introduce a Living Wage at Northumberland County Council but, now that this has become national policy, they still refuse to welcome this and support those in need in our county.
There is still a huge disparity in terms of the pay structure at Northumberland County Council. Those at the top are being paid far more than the Prime Minister whereas those at the bottom of the scale are finding it hard to make ends meet. This is the situation locally created by the controlling Labour/Independent Administration.
It is clear that the Labour Leader, Grant Davey, is prepared to say anything to divert responsibility and to escape from these facts.”