Health official calls for higher Hull council wages

A SENIOR health official is urging Hull City Council to raise its wages to help people live longer and healthier lives.

Hull City Council is being urged to pay the living wage

In an unusual move, Julia Weldon. the director of public health in Hull, is recommending the authority commit to paying its staff the living wage as part of a wider plan to improve health in the city.

Life expectancy in Hull is below national averages with men in some wards living on average 10 years long than those in other parts of the city.

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Mrs Weldon said: “We have a got a renewed optimism from City of Culture and the major infrastructure changes and new jobs in the city and health and well-being is improving overall but that’s not true for everybody.

“We know that Hull has got some longstanding very difficult challenges in inequalities.”

She added: “We know that poverty is a major driver for inequalities and inequalities drive health and well-being.

“Work is not a way out of poverty any more for many families. The majority of families have at least one person in the household working often on a low wage, often working zero-hour contracts so it is something we have got to have a dialogue about.”

The living wage is set by the Living Wage Foundation based on research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on the income needed to sustain an adequate standard of living.

Outside London, the living wage currently stands at £7.85 per hour compared to the national minimum wage, which all employers must pay, of £6.50 per hour.

Mrs Weldon hopes the council adopting the living wage would act as an example to other major employers in the city and inspire them to follow suit.

A council spokeswoman said the authority is committed to introducing the living wage in principle but discussions would need to take place with trade unions.