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Kent Council to raise minimum wage for staff

PUBLISHED: 12:39 20 February 2018

Kent County Council leader Paul Carter. Picture: Andy Barnes

Kent County Council leader Paul Carter. Picture: Andy Barnes

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Kent County Council is set to raise the minimum hourly wage for its workers to £8.10 from April.

An extra £4.45m will be spent to ensure all staff on band two of the council’s pay scale will receive an hourly wage above the national living and minimum wage.

The leader of KCC, Paul Carter, said at a full council meeting this morning, Tuesday, February 20 that he hopes this shows staff they are valued.

He said: “I would like to thank all the staff on the front line services and I am pleased that the budget includes a 2.8per cent increase for staff pay to be distributed.

“I hope staff see it’s very fair and reasonable considering the circumstances.”

However the leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition claims 353 councils across the country pay staff at least £8.50 per hour.

Cllr Rob Bird, said: “Road crossing patrols, catering and domestic assistants, country park wardens – what do these people have in common?

“They are amongst the lowest paid staff working for Kent County Council. Many of them are on KCC’s minimum wage.

“KCC is planning to raise its minimum wage to £8.10 per hour from April.

“That may well be better than the National Living Wage but it’s still some way below the minimum rate of £8.50 being offered by 353 councils across the country.

“Kent’s cost of living is higher than much of the country.

“So how can KCC justify paying a lollipop lady in Tunbridge Wells less than she would earn in Carlisle, Hartlepool, Truro or nearby in Hastings?

“Many of these poorly paid staff are really struggling to meet their weekly bills.

“They deserve to be treated fairly.”

The wage increase comes after KCC was handed a nearly £4m cash boost from central government.

Despite increased funds, KCC proposed to raise council tax by 5pc at the meeting, a hike of £59 for Band D residents per year.

Since 2010, the council has seen government funding cut by £221m as it has faced an increasing demand for services, costing it an additional £387m.

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