Ceredigion best in Wales at narrowing pay gap

Ceredigion Council can be fairly proud of the progress made in narrowing the pay gap between its lowest and highest paid workers. 

Since the last local government elections in 2012 the Council has removed its three lowest pay bands, with a fourth due to follow in May. At the same time, a deliberate restructuring has ensured that the wage bill for senior officers has fallen considerably.

The latest figures show that Ceredigion Council now has the smallest difference in the whole of Wales (and undoubtedly beyond) between its lowest paid staff and that of the Chief Executive. Ceredigion’s ratio is 1:8.4, whereas some neighbouring authorities are at 1:12 or even higher. 

Looking at the table below, one party clearly emerges as taking the issue of reducing the pay gap the most seriously. This is no accident. The present Ceredigion leadership is mindful of the Spirit Level campaign which has shown that more equal societies have far better economic, health and general well-being outcomes. 

The intention is to make further progress towards the Living Wage, although this is not easy at a time of unprecedented austerity from the Westminster government. The continuing austerity agenda was supported by all the main parties in the recent House of Commons vote and, to compound this, the Welsh Government has subjected Ceredigion to the largest percentage cut of any of the Welsh Councils.

Despite this, Ceredigion is evidently helping to provide a small local counter-balance to the prevailing economic trend of growing social inequality.


Aberystwyth and the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation

At the end of November the Welsh Government published the latest Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation. This ranks each area in Wales, 1 being the most deprived and 1909 being the least. Mererid Jones, one of five Aberystwyth Town Councillors for Penparcau, has sent me this analysis for Aberystwyth:
The areas listed are as follows: -
Bronglais = as per the Council ward
Canol/Central = as per the Council ward
Rheidol 1 = the town side of Rheidol ward
Rheidol 2 = Trefechan and Greenfield Street area
Penparcau 2 = Heol Tynyfron to Southgate + Cae Job & Heol Dinas + Brynystwyth & Ty cam
Penparcau 1 = Maesheli + The Avenues + Maesmaelor
Penglais = North Ward plus the part of Faenor ward which includes Pentre Jane Morgan.

Income accounts for 23.5% of each overall score and focusses on the proportion of the population receiving benefits. Penparcau and Rheidol 2 have seen an increase in eligibility for tax credits.

Employment also accounts for 23.5% of the overall score and is mainly based on the percentage of the working age population in receipt of Employment-related benefit.  

Health accounts for 14% of the overall score and looks at indicators like low-weight births, long term illness and cause of death.  

Education accounts for 14% of the overall score and looks at Key Stage 4 results, absenteeism, no qualifications and not entering Higher Education.   

Physical Environment accounts for 5% and includes proximity to waste tips, flood risk and air quality. 

Housing accounts for 5%, and has improved in all wards with the exception of Rheidol but, given the low multiple, has not had a major impact on the score.

All areas in Aberystwyth have worsened in terms of Access to Services.  This is defined as the travel-time to main services such as food, GP, schools, petrol stations etc. There has been a change in the way these scores are calculated since 2011 and private transport has now been included. This has impacted enormously on the result due to a high level of homes in Aberystwyth not having a car.