City College Norwich has been forced to back out of a commitment to the real living wage due to a lack of government funding. 

For almost a decade the college has focussed on increasing the wages of its lowest-paid staff. 

However due to a gap from central funding it said it simply cannot keep up with real living wage increases. 

A spokesman for the college said: “We’ve been proud to have been one of the only real living wage colleges in England.  

“Since 2013 this has resulted in consistent increases in the hourly pay of our lowest paid colleagues – a trend we are committed to continuing.  

“We have done that against a backdrop of austerity which has seen funding per student in the further education sector plummet by 14pc in real terms over recent years.” 

But now the college says the levels of public funding it receives do not allow them to pay the £1 an hour increase now proposed by the Real Living Wage Foundation.  

The spokesman continued: “Very reluctantly, we have concluded we must withdraw from our commitment.  

“Our offer of 5.1 per cent - around 50p per hour - would see our lowest paid staff continue to get the biggest pay rise in the college in 2022-23.  

“It has been a hugely difficult decision for us and one we certainly would not have chosen in other circumstances. 

“We desperately need a sensible long-term approach to funding this critical area of education if Norfolk is going to grow and prosper.” 

However public union Unison has blasted the decision.  

Unison's Norfolk branch secretary, Jonathan Dunning, said: “Scrooge went from a harsh boss paying poverty wages to an enlightened employer ahead of Christmas.  

“City College is doing the whole thing in reverse. 

“Just a few weeks ago, the college helped launch the council’s campaign to become a living wage city, pledging to convince other local employers to get accreditation.  

“While we understand the financial pressures further education is going through, no employer should be pushing its workers into poverty. It shouldn’t take spectral intervention to reverse this decision: the college must change its mind.”