THE new leader of the Isle of Wight Council has said it would be no good raising the amount it pays its staff to a real living wage if it meant cuts to services or a loss of jobs.

In its second meeting since being appointed as the new administration, the Alliance group was questioned as to whether it would increase the average wage of its employees.

Cllr Richard Quigley, one of four independent councillors forming the authority, asked whether the council would consider being accredited as a real living wage employer and set a time limit for all its contractors to do so.

The real living wage is different from the national wage and is determined by how much it actually takes to live and meet everyday needs.

Outside London, that rate is £9.50 an hour, compared to minimum wage, for those under 23, of £8.36 and the national living wage, for those over 23, at £8.91.

Across South East England, Winchester City Council, Reading Borough Council and Brighton and Hove City Council are among some of the local authorities who are pledged to pay the real living wage and have received accredited status.

Leader of the Isle of Wight Council Cllr Lora Peacey-Wilcox said it was an aspiration of the Alliance administration to end poverty, with the help of the voluntary sector, but it was a complex challenge to achieve.

She said being a real living wage employer may be one approach but they must first understand the impact it would have on the authority's wider financial position.

Explaining the council's lowest pay grade was £18,191, or £9.45 an hour, the authority was only paying 5p less than the real living wage.

Cllr Peacey-Wilcox said to accommodate the changes made to the national living wage this year, which saw a 2.2 per cent increase, adult social care staff will receive their share of £500,000.

To increase wages further, to the real living wage as suggested, would coat around £1.5 million in the adult social care sector alone.

She said: "I am not saying 'no way, we should not do this', we just need to consider this very carefully and in the round; setting it against all the other priorities of council funding from our limited resources."

Cllr Peacey-Wilcox said the new administration, with the help of Cllr Quigley, is starting a new piece of work to build on community wellbeing, which will consider the impact of becoming a real living wage employer on the authority and local community.