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Council Leader 'Not Taking Scarborough Living Wage Seriously'

Scarborough Town Hall

Published by the Yorkshire Coast Radio News Team at 6:03am 12th September 2017. (Updated at 9:09am 12th September 2017)

The Scarborough Labour Group wants the 'real' living wage to be re-introduced for council employees and claims the Leader of the Borough Council is not taking the low living wage seriously.

Leader of the group Steve Siddons has been speaking to Yorkshire Coast Radio on the back of Leader of the Borough Council Derek Bastiman's comments last week

He was speaking about a report that showed Scarborough had the lowest average salary of any local authority in the UK.

The report, from the Social Market Foundation, showed that the average salary of the borough, was £19,925.

That's £8,517 lower than the UK average of £28,442.

Councillor Siddons said:

“Yet another report shows Scarborough bottom of another well-being league. Health, Child Poverty and now Wage statistics show the Council Leader’s talk of a local economic boom is a myth, the welfare of the Borough’s residents is not only failing to improve, in many areas it is going backwards.

 The Council is part of the low wage problem when it could and should be solving itAll Parties on the Council agreed in 2013 to tackle this wage poverty together.

We adopted a Living Wage Policy of paying Council staff the ‘real’ Living Wage and encouraging other employers in the Borough to do the same.

The long term intention  was making it a preferred criteria in the Council’s procurement process for those businesses we buy goods and services from.

Two years later under a new Tory Leader the Cabinet abandoned that ‘real’ Living Wage Policy to save an estimated £16,500- we throw away ten times that sponsoring single day’s tourism events.

That the Tory council Leader both disputes the low wage figures and at the same time excuses low wages because Scarborough and Whitby are a ‘nice work environment’ is both naïve and insulting.

Whole families depend on decent local wages. Good beaches and countryside won’t solve Child Poverty figures of over 40%, and rising, in Scarborough and Whitby’s most deprived wards.

Burying our head in the sand isn’t the answer, the Council needs to act. The Labour Group suggested at this week’s Council meeting that the Living Wage Policy urgently needs reintroducing.

We are not optimistic. The Tory Group have refused to debate the living wage since their U-turn. The Cabinet member responsible even embarrassingly tried to suggest that George Osborne’s rebranded minimum wage was the same as the ‘real’ Living Wage.

We will put forward a proposal in the Labour Group, to ask for the 'real' living wage to be reinstated for Scarborough Borough Council employees.

That will ensure that at least council employees are on a reasonable wage and will hopefully set the tone for other employers in the area."

You can listen to the full interview with Councillor Siddons below:

Leader of the Borough Council Derek Bastiman said:

"If Councillor Siddons doesn't think I'm taking this seriously, that's his opinion and that's fair enough, I respect his opinion. 

If I wasn't taking it seriously enough I wouldn't have agreed to meet a reporter from one of the national newspapers the following day.

We abandoned the 'real' living wage because it was looked into, by the relevant people, and it's thought the current living wage is the best we can offer. 

Yes, if we could offer more money then we would. It's easy to say we could re-introduce it, but it's a case of finding the money."

And you can listen to the full interview with Councillor Bastiman below:


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