Paying more people 'living wage' could spell disaster, says business leader

Clair Prosser

Clair Prosser

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

PAYING more staff ‘the living wage’ could result in a reduction in employee benefits and even fewer jobs, one business leader has warned.

Clair Prosser, policy executive at Oxfordshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “There is no doubt that low pay is a problem in Britain, with five million employees earning below a living wage.

“Yet political and campaign pressure to increase wage rates at the bottom end could result in ballooning pay bills right up the scale, leading to reductions in employee benefits, loss of jobs, or reduced investment.”

Ms Prosser’s comments come as Oxfordshire County Council has agreed to pay its employees more than the standard minimum wage to take into account the higher cost of living in the county.

It will become one of an increasing number of councils in Oxfordshire to pay its workers a ‘living wage’, with average rates at £7.65 an hour.

Miss Prosser said: “Higher pay with no consequent improvement in skill levels or productivity could hurt our competitiveness across the world. Domestic debates like this take on an increased significance.”

But council leader Ian Hudspeth said it was in recognition of council staff’s work.

He said: “It is to make sure they are getting good recompense for all the hard work they do.

“We are working to have full implementation by April 2017, but I would like to think that if negotiations go well we could implement it by April this year.”

At around £7.65 an hour, the living wage is higher than the national minimum wage, currently £6.31, and is calculated based on the cost of living in a specific area of the UK.

At the moment, the Labour-run Oxford City Council is the only local authority in Oxfordshire which has been given a living wage accreditation by paying its employees more than £8 an hour.

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However Cherwell District Council and West Oxfordshire District Council also pay the living wage.

  • The figure for the UK living wage is set annually by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University. It looks at what households need in order to have a minimum acceptable standard of living.

Comments (7)

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9:14am Tue 25 Feb 14

Megs says...

Just checked this "business leader"'s CV. Seems she is some sort of PR person, despite being titled a "policy executive". This is a relief because Oxfordshire's commerce would be in serious trouble if the uneducated Noddy-level economic appreciation she spouts were indeed a policy.
Just checked this "business leader"'s CV. Seems she is some sort of PR person, despite being titled a "policy executive". This is a relief because Oxfordshire's commerce would be in serious trouble if the uneducated Noddy-level economic appreciation she spouts were indeed a policy. Megs
  • Score: 7

9:29am Tue 25 Feb 14

West Oxon Webwatcher says...

Of course these employers like the present subsidy through the benefits system but we all pay for this subsidy in higher taxes.
Of course these employers like the present subsidy through the benefits system but we all pay for this subsidy in higher taxes. West Oxon Webwatcher
  • Score: 6

9:34am Tue 25 Feb 14

OutToPasture says...

So this "Living Wage" will only apply to council employees?
So this "Living Wage" will only apply to council employees? OutToPasture
  • Score: 2

10:48am Tue 25 Feb 14

rfr says...

OutToPasture wrote:
So this "Living Wage" will only apply to council employees?
Nothing to stop other organisations paying the living wage in Oxford. Students have run a successful campaign for colleges and the University to pay the living wage,
https://www.facebook
.com/OxfordLivingWag
e
[quote][p][bold]OutToPasture[/bold] wrote: So this "Living Wage" will only apply to council employees?[/p][/quote]Nothing to stop other organisations paying the living wage in Oxford. Students have run a successful campaign for colleges and the University to pay the living wage, https://www.facebook .com/OxfordLivingWag e rfr
  • Score: 2

3:14pm Tue 25 Feb 14

Sophia says...

Ghastly woman. An ex BBC employee so knows all about sucking at the public teat. I suspect that what she knows about competing in global markets could be written on the back of a stamp. But here she is making the case for keeping the poor poor while bankers of CEOs of course must get endless pay rises whether the business flourishes or not. Who cares if people cant afford a home or cant feed their kids properly? Not Pross, who couldnt give a toss.
Ghastly woman. An ex BBC employee so knows all about sucking at the public teat. I suspect that what she knows about competing in global markets could be written on the back of a stamp. But here she is making the case for keeping the poor poor while bankers of CEOs of course must get endless pay rises whether the business flourishes or not. Who cares if people cant afford a home or cant feed their kids properly? Not Pross, who couldnt give a toss. Sophia
  • Score: 5

5:49pm Tue 25 Feb 14

Richard of Wantage says...

Start paying employees a "living wage", can't do that they might then start voting Tory. Keep them on low wage so they have to rely on Labour for benefits!
Start paying employees a "living wage", can't do that they might then start voting Tory. Keep them on low wage so they have to rely on Labour for benefits! Richard of Wantage
  • Score: 1

9:07pm Tue 25 Feb 14

Megs says...

The late, great, political journalist Simon Hoggart tested questionable statements for nonsense by reversing them . If applied here, Prosser's statement becomes paying people a non-living wage would not be a disaster. Either this is nonsense, or she is arguing in favour of high mortality rates or slavery. Strangely enough, situations not unknown in non "domestic" competitors "across the world".
The late, great, political journalist Simon Hoggart tested questionable statements for nonsense by reversing them . If applied here, Prosser's statement becomes paying people a non-living wage would not be a disaster. Either this is nonsense, or she is arguing in favour of high mortality rates or slavery. Strangely enough, situations not unknown in non "domestic" competitors "across the world". Megs
  • Score: 0

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