A WAR of words broke out at Thurrock Council last night over the Labour proposal to introduce a Living Wage for Thurrock Council employees.
A recommendation was on the table for a local living wage of £7.48 per hour.
But the leader of the Conservative opposition, cllr Phil Anderson called into question how this would be financed.
Cllr Anderson told the chamber that the Tory group supported the principle of the living wage but in a written amendment noted:
“The cost of implementing the local living wage has risen to £150,000 and this would represent an un-forecasted financial pressure on both the council and schools.”
Cllr Anderson revealed that the council had written to schools asking them to pick up the shortfall.
Cllr Anderson said: “This is the toxic legacy of Labour in Britain. We have schools near to financial breaking point. But we are being confronted with a form of moral blackmail.
Labour councillor, Oliver Gerrish told the Tories that they “should be ashamed of themselves” whilst portfolio holder for Health, cllr Barbara Rice said she was “saddened’ by the Tory stance.
The Tory amendment was defeated. The recommendations, that included a 1% pay increase for council staff was voted through (the Tories abstained).