Minister announces support for councils to deliver equal pay
Local Government Minister John Healey has announced action to give councils the financial flexibility they need to speed up meeting their long-term commitments to achieving equal pay for staff. The decision gave the green light to 34 councils to raise £455m to meet equal pay liabilities, either by borrowing against, or selling, assets.
Mr Healey gave the green light to 34 councils to raise £455m to meet equal pay liabilities, either by borrowing against or selling assets – known as capitalisation. This will enable them to make one-off back-payments to thousands of employees – mostly women on low pay.
The Government has acted to help councils make equal pay settlements, approving over £1.1bn of capitalisation over a three-year period. This has been widely welcomed by local government and trades unions as practical support that enabled councils to meet their commitments as employers.
Evidence suggests progress is speeding up as a result – the Local Government Employers report showed that in July 2007 only around two in five of authorities had either implemented or completed their local pay reviews, but by the end of July this year it had reached three in five.
John Healey said: “I’m determined to see councils settle their equal pay obligations. Local government workers should get the equal pay to which they are entitled. Good progress has been made over the past year. But this is not a new obligation on employers and I now want to see even greater progress made, and the momentum of the past year maintained.”
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