William Thompson

Williams Thompson Solicitors

The new Living Wage has now come into effect and could have significant implications for Christchurch.

I remember a remarkable survey a few years ago put Christchurch near the top of a league of ‘deprived areas’. This was based on our relatively high cost of living but the fact that our main employment is in tourism and care services. Both industries are notorious for their low pay.

As a result, the surprise announcement by the chancellor last summer that the minimum wage would be increased to a ‘living wage’ of £7.20 per hour (and over the next few years to £9.00 per hour) is likely to be a boon to many Christchurch workers.

However, care home in particular fear that they are going to find it hard to cope with the increase in costs. Their wage bills will be going up over 10% since this time last year and there is a worry it could make some economically unviable. The recent closure of Pinebeach Nursing Home in Friars Cliff for redevelopment has been a loss to the area and there is a concern that other local homes could now be pushed into financial difficulties.

Many care home residents are reliant on local authority funding, and the cut backs already affecting councils means it is unlikely they will be unable to increase payments by as much as is needed.

Other care home residents are private paying and are likely to see a rise in fees, predicted to be as much as 10%. This would put the average cost of a care home a £743 per month, although some local homes are already significantly more than that. That figure works out as £38,636 per annum which is more than sending a child to a private school like Canford or Eton!

Peter Watson-Lee

 

Christchurch Chamber of Trade and Commerce

www.williamsthompson.co.uk This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it 01202 484242


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