WINCHESTER City Council will pay all its staff at least the new 'living wage'.

The Council already pays the minimum wage and will meet the £15k-£20k extra cost of introducing the living wage - £7.45 per hour - within its existing budgets.

Councillor Stephen Godfrey, the city's finance chief, said: “As a responsible employer we believe it is important to pay the living wage. We want staff to feel positive about working for Winchester City Council and we believe that the living wage will help us achieve that.

“The Council is a significant local employer and can set an important example for others. We believe that the investment will pay for itself by improving staff retention, productivity and customer service.”

The city council, which employs the equivalent of 435 fulltime staff, is one of the first local authorities to sign up for the living wage.