IT may be slashing budgets by millions and axing hundreds of jobs, but Wigan Council has managed to find £250 for each of its staff earning less than £21,000.
The rise will help to offset the fact that council workers have not received one for three years and helps those who need it most.
The £250 increase was first proposed by Chancellor George Osborne in his 2010 Budget, after making a commitment to protect public sector workers earning less than £21,000 from the full effects of the pay freeze.
The changes will come into effect in May but be backdated to the beginning of April and the £250 payment will be spread over 12 months. While some town halls have decided to introduce the payment as a one-off, Wigan Council has decided to make it a permanent pay increase.
The introduction of the payment has been welcomed by public services union Unison at national level.
The increase is part of this year’s authority Budget which was approved by the Full Council and is on top of the annual increment to which staff are entitled.
Council Chief Executive Donna Hall said: “The council is facing significant pressure on its budgets and we are faced with making cuts in order to protect front-line services.
“However, we appreciate the affects that the continued national pay freeze will have on our lowest paid members of staff and we want to support them through these difficult economic times. As a result the council has followed the Chancellor’s recommendations and we will be making this payment.
“Wigan is an excellent council and we have the hard work and professionalism of all our staff to thank for this. This is set against a backdrop of a time of considerable uncertainty and significant change, which makes the great work being completed even more exceptional.
“We are looking at ways we can recognise and reward this great work as we move forward.”