HUNDREDS of families in Barnsley will benefit from the council's plans to introduce the 'Living Wage' - a set rate for the lowest-paid employees.

The Living Wage is an hourly wage rate set independently at £7.65 and is the minimum required to provide a basic standard of living.

As part of an agreement with Unison, the council earlier this year said it would review the Living Wage protocol.

Council leader Sir Steve Houghton said: "Last year the council agreed in principle to UNISON's request to implement the Living Wage from April 2014.

"Despite the significant financial challenges the council is facing we're committed to the Living Wage and have built it into our budget proposals."

Barnsley UNISON Branch Secretary Brian Steele said more organisations were realising that paying the Living Wage is the right thing to do.

He added: "We're pleased that Barnsley Council is doing the right thing by its lowest-paid staff despite the massive funding cuts that central government is forcing on the council.

"Research tells us that council workers spend 50p out of every £1 they earn in the local economy so the Living Wage will be good news for Barnsley."