A CALL to bring in an Oxfordshire-wide Living Wage is likely to be given short shrift next week.

Labour county councillor Deborah McIlveen, who represents Leys division in Oxford, will ask councillors to consider introducing a special minimum wage for public sector workers across Oxfordshire.

She says it could improve staff's quality of work and reduce the time people take off ill.

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She will say at a council meeting on Tuesday: "Living costs in Oxfordshire are high and pay is relatively low. High housing costs mean that employers in the public and private sectors struggle to recruit and retain staff. "There are vacancies in all areas of the public sector and this is affecting service delivery. Housing costs in Oxfordshire have risen at a similar rate to those in London where workers in the public sector are paid a London Living Wage of £10.55 per hour."

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The Labour-run city council operates the Oxford Living Wage and other employers across the country have signed up to pay a wage accredited by the Living Wage Foundation.

In November 2017, the county council's deputy leader Judith Heathcoat said it would not pay a living wage over the fear any implementation could cost as much as £20m. But she insisted council staff were being well paid.