A BID to reduce the pay of council apprentices in order to take on more has been thrown out.
Members of Portsmouth’s Tory administration had proposed to reduce the wage trainee workers get from £6.50 to £5.13 an hour.
The reasoning was to make apprenticeship schemes more affordable and try to increase the number of placements.
But Lib Dem councillors, joined by Labour leader John Ferrett, stopped it going through at this week’s employment committee meeting as they felt it wasn’t right to cut wages when they are already low.
Members felt it wasn’t appropriate at a time when the council has adopted the living wage, so employees will now receive at least £7.85 an hour and have salaries topped up if necessary to reflect this.
Lib Dem councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘One the one hand we would be giving people the living wage, but with apprentices reducing their salaries.
‘It wouldn’t have made a huge amount of difference to the council’s expenditure.’
But Tory councillor Luke Stubbs argued the apprentice wage in other parts of the country was much lower and they were able to run far more schemes.
‘With £37m in savings to find over the next three years, Portsmouth City Council is not going to be creating many jobs,’ he said.
‘It could however provide additional opportunities for young people, but only if it is affordable to do so.