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Office of the PCC and Northumbria Police Accredited as a Living Wage Employer

16th April 2014

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird today announced her delight that the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and Northumbria Police are now accredited Living Wage employers.

The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently by the Centre for Social Policy at Loughborough University and updated annually. It is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. Employers can choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis.

During her election campaign in November 2012, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird gave a commitment that the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and Northumbria Police would become Living Wage employers.

Vera Baird said: “Although the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and Northumbria Police’s pay structures already meet the Living Wage criteria, there were staff employed by an external contractor who were not receiving the Living Wage, and I didn’t believe it was right to call the OPCC and the force Living Wage employers if those staff were not being paid the Living Wage.”

The main beneficiaries of this announcement will be a number of cleaning staff who are now in the process of being transferred from their current employer to Northumbria Police as the force brings its building cleaning service in-house. They were not being paid the Living Wage by their employer, but will receive the Living Wage once their employment transfers to Northumbria Police.

Contracts for non-police related services provided by external contractors, such as waste disposal, are awarded by the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC). In future it will be a requirement through the competitive tendering process for contractors to pay the Living Wage to those staff working on contracts awarded by the PCC.

Vera Baird said: “In the current economic climate it is imperative that we do everything we can to help the low paid. By being a Living Wage employer we are playing our part in helping people who are facing rising costs of living.”

Beth Farhat Regional Secretary Northern TUC commented: “I am delighted Vera has fulfilled her commitment to become an accredited living wage employer only a week after the TUC’s Fair Pay Fortnight campaign.

“Extending the living wage is a vital way of tackling the growing problem of in-work poverty across the region. Working families are experiencing the biggest pressure on their living standards since Victorian times.

“The Living Wage makes sense for everyone. It makes sense economically, socially and helps us all build better lives and a better society.”

The idea behind the Living Wage is that a person is paid enough to live decently and to adequately provide for their family. It is promoted by the Living Wage Foundation, supported across political parties and by trade unions.

Rhys Moore, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “The benefits the Living Wage brings to staff and business are clear. We are so thrilled to see the leadership shown by Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird QC on this important issue. We look forward to working with Northumbria Police to celebrate the Living Wage and inspire many other employers and police forces to follow their lead.”

Figures from Unison show 20% of the working population earn less than a living wage – nationwide this amounts to 4.8 million people.

Clare Williams, UNISON Regional Convenor, said, “I am delighted that Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner and Northumbria Police will be implementing the Living Wage.

“The Living Wage means that workers can live with dignity and not just exist. Through paying a living wage employers can lift their employees out of the stress of working families living in poverty, debt, and illness, which will improve family life.

“Employers benefit too by increased productivity, reduction in sickness, recruitment and retention of staff, so everyone is a winner.”