At a full meeting of B&NES Council a Liberal-Democrat wrecking amendment to the Labour Group's motion calling on the Council to become a Living Wage employer and seek accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation was passed following support from the Conservative group.
The amendment removed the requirement for the Council pay at least the Living Wage and become an accredited Living Wage Employer.
Labour's Parliamentary candidates for Bath (Ollie Middleton) and North East Somerset (Todd Foreman) both addressed the meeting in support of the Labour group’s calls to commit the Council to paying at least the Living Wage.
Commenting on the amendment, B&NES Labour Group Leader Cllr John Bull said:
“When I put forward the Labour Group's motion, I reminded the Council that the Living Wage Foundation's motto is 'Work should be the surest way out of poverty.' The only way we can make this a reality is for employers to pay at least a Living Wage.
“It is disappointing that the Council's Liberal-Democrats, with support from the Conservatives, pushed through a wrecking amendment which removed the Council's commitment to pay at least the Living Wage or seek accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation as a Living Wage Employer. The amended motion commits the Council to nothing and leaves the Council in the same position that it has been for some time, namely paying nothing more than lip service to the Living Wage.”
Ollie Middleton, Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Bath said:
“I reminded the Council that a recent study by the Campaign to End Child Poverty found that one in five children in Bath lives in poverty. It's a shame that the Council has missed a chance to take positive action to make sure that work pays and lift people, including children, out of poverty.”
Todd Foreman, Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for North East Somerset added:
“I told the Council that paying at least the Living Wage makes sense morally, and also from a commercial point of view, as studies have shown that employees paid at least the living wage have higher productivity and lower absenteeism. It also makes sense for taxpayers, as people paid the Living Wage have less eligibility for and need to claim benefit. The Liberal Democrats and Tories on the council have missed an opportunity to show leadership on this issue.