Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 8th September 2014.

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Photo of Frank Field Frank Field Labour, Birkenhead

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many (a) direct employees, (b) outsourced workers and (c) agency workers in executive agencies which report to his Department are paid less than the Living Wage as defined by the Living Wage Foundation.

Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Education) (Women and Equalities) , The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

I have approached the Chief Executives of the Department’s Executive Agencies (Insolvency Service, Companies House, National Measurement Office, Intellectual Property Office, UK Space Agency, Ordnance Survey, Met Office, Land Registry and the Skills Funding Agency) and they will respond to the right hon. Member directly. Copies will be placed in the Library.

We fully support those that choose to pay above the NMW when it is affordable to do so and not at the expense of jobs. In terms of affordability in the public sector, there are important considerations about the impact on public service delivery, which is why it is important that decisions on pay are made by individual departments.

On the basis of fairness and affordability the Secretary of State instructed the department to give the lowest paid contracted staff (including cleaners) an above inflation pay rise. From 1 April, the lowest paid contracted staff at BIS offices across the UK will be paid £7.85 per hour, up £1.40 or nearly 22% from the previous £6.45 per hour rate. This increase has restored and surpassed the real value of wages that had fallen in recent years. This also means that BIS contractors will be among the top 25% (upper quartile) of contractors across Whitehall and will benefit 252 employees across 81 sites in the UK.

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