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Departmental Pay Rates

Volume 511: debated on Monday 14 June 2010

6. If he will bring forward proposals to ensure that all staff of his Department are paid at a rate of at least £7.60 per hour. (1856)

The figure of £7.60 per hour to which the hon. Lady refers was the London living wage until last week, and I can confirm that all directly employed DWP staff in London are paid £7.60 or above and, indeed, are paid more than the new London living wage of £7.85 announced by the Mayor of London on 9 June.

I am sure the Minister is aware of the economic as well as the moral case for the living wage that was most recently advanced by the Mayor of London. In the light of that, will the hon. Gentleman confirm that as well as the directly employed staff, contracted-out staff in his Department, such as cleaners, will also be employed on the living wage because they do such important work for the people of this country?

The hon. Lady is right to point to the position of contracted staff. She will be aware that long-term private finance initiative contracts were entered into by the Labour Government which involve paying people less than the living wage. We have inherited that practice. However, I understand that Telereal Trillium, with which we have our principal contract, including for cleaners, has an agreement with the relevant trade unions to pay higher rates on new tenders.