Stephen Purcell, the Leader of Glasgow Council, has announced the council's minimum wage will rise to £7.00 an hour the Sunday Times reports. The increase will affect around 700 council workers. The present national rate is £5.73 and the rise to £7.00 is more than a 20% increase. The only other authority which operates a similar policy is the Greater London Authority.
He also stated the council will give preference to contractors who offer the same rate to their workers, affecting up to 80,000 privately employed staff.
The move has provoked a backlash from business leaders and taxpayers groups who have condemned it as an unbelievable example of public sector profligacy while the rest of the country is struggling.
Mr Purcell said, "Almost one in five of Glasgow's workers are paid less than £7 an hour and the Glasgow living wage has the potential to make a huge difference to thousands of families. It's the right thing to do."
The Times states Purcell's decision will embarrass the Labour party which has been resisting union calls to raise the national minimum wage.
A brave decision by Mr Purcell, very brave indeed and I hope it succeeds as he says, in raising staff morale, productivity and quality of life for the lowest paid in our public services. He makes no mention of the sources which will fund this new policy and one thing's for sure, he cannot ask council taxpayers to accept any increase when other councils are freezing council tax.
Another move towards his future leadership challenge may be a fair assessment.