Salford’s drive to become the first Living Wage City in England has been given national recognition.
Salford City Council Chief Executive Tom Stannard has been appointed as a Commissioner on the Living Wage Commission which oversees the annual calculation of the real Living Wage rates for London and the UK. The rate is independently calculated to meet the true cost of living and is uprated every year to account for inflation.
Commission members are drawn from across the private and public sector and leading Living Wage accredited employers.
Salford City Council was the first local authority in Greater Manchester to pay its employees the real Living Wage uplifting 1,200 low paid workers. In 2019 the city was recognised for its ambition to become the first Living Wage City in England and in 2020 over 3,000 care workers in Salford saw their hourly pay rise from £9 to £9.30 as part of a move towards paying them the full real Living Wage.
Mr Stannard, who was appointed Chief Executive at Salford City Council earlier this year, said it was a great honour.
“Salford is the fastest growing economy in Greater Manchester and has seen unprecedented private and public sector investment over the last 10 years but not everyone is benefiting from that,” he said.
“While our action group of private, public and third sector organisations has helped increase Living Wage employers from 38 in 2019 to 55 in February 2021 covering nearly 12,000 employees, nearly 40% of our city workforce (44,600 people) earn below the real Living Wage, compared to 30% nationally. We want to see an inclusive economy and everyone benefiting from Salford’s growth.
“Paying people the real Living Wage is puts money back into the local economy, boosts productivity for employers, aids with recruitment and retention and, most importantly, shows staff they are valued for the work they do.”
Laura Gardiner, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “We’re delighted to have Tom join the Living Wage Commission. The Commission’s work in overseeing an independent, robust calculation of the real Living Wage is essential, and given Salford City Council’s role as a leading Living Wage Employer, Tom is an ideal appointee.”
Mr Stannard was previously Corporate Director for Regeneration and Economic Growth at Wakefield Council, securing the £1.8 billion West Yorkshire devolution deal and Director of Economy and Skills at Oldham Council leading on economic regeneration, skills and employment.
In his previous career as a former Deputy Chief Executive of the UK Learning and Work Institute, he has also worked nationally to champion pay and skills improvement and in-work progression across the country.
He is a board member for the UK Institute of Economic Development and the Centre for local Economic Strategies (CLES), and is a National Policy Spokesperson for SOLACE, the UK local government CEOs’ professional body.