Wandsworth councillors reaffirmed their support for the London Living Wage (LLW), but are still stopping short of making contractors pay it.

The latest in a long list of clashes between the Labour opposition and Conservative administration happened at a full Wandsworth Council meeting on December 5.

Labour councillors have been asking for months for a change of policy – extending the LLW from all direct employees (who all receive it) to people who work for the council through other organisations.

Cabinet member for economic development, skills and employment, Councillor Rory O’Broin said at the meeting: “If someone does a hard day’s work, they should get a fair day’s pay for it.

“We as a council back the London Living Wage. The issue here is about mandating contractors.

“We can continue to talk about how positive an increase in pay is, but it’s not a long-term solution to wage stagnation.”

He argued the administration’s position that there are better ways to create social mobility – a key priority for the council – such as investing in training and skills, but agreed the LLW has “a role to play”.

“As a local authority, we need to make sure that every pound we spend maximises the benefit to our residents.

“Increased costs from the LLW may mean that we are not spending on other great work that we are currently doing.”

Labour councillors promised to “keep fighting” on the issue.

Councillor Jo Rigby, who proposed the motion, said: “Being paid the Living Wage can be the difference between living ‘just about’, and being able to afford a birthday treat for your children.

“As shapers of society, local authorities have a key role. We can’t continue to abrogate our responsibility on poverty.

“We have a duty of care to ensure that we are creating social mobility for all.”

Administration councillors amended the motion to affirm the authority’s support for all businesses in the borough, including contractors, to pay their staff the LLW.

Conservative council leader Ravi Govindia has previously refused to look into paying contractors the LLW, in answer to a question from Labour councillor Jo Rigby in July.

Cllr Govindia claimed that because there is no evidence to suggest contractors’ workers live in the borough, it falls outside the council’s responsibility.

He also said the council “should not have a policy of interfering in the external market”, but emphasised the authority’s “very clear expectations” for the quality of service it expects.