Kirklees campaign to tackle in-work poverty

Kirklees Council leader David Sheard.
Kirklees Council leader David Sheard.
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Kirklees councillors have backed a campaign to tackle in-work poverty following a decision to pay all council staff the living wage.

The council signed up to the living wage, which is said to be the amount a worker needs to earn to cover the basic costs of living, earlier this year – but councillors said it was not just about money and that other steps needed to be taken.

David Sheard.

David Sheard.

Councillors supported the 10 commitments of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Low Pay Charter, which include guarding against inappropriate zero hours contracts, ensuring proper professional development and encouraging take up of employee benefits.

Council leader David Sheard (Lab, Heckmondwike), said: “It is important that this is not seen as something only benefiting our own employees – by setting an example and encouraging other local organisations to do the same, we will hopefully help a lot more people in the region to take a step out of poverty.

“It also means that this money will be filtering down to those who are in greater need and who will feel the greater benefit.

“It will be spent locally to boost our economy, supporting business and helping us to make us a thriving region in which to live, work and invest.”

A council spokeswoman said councillors acknowledged that the campaign would only be successful if private sector employers followed suit and improved pay.