“Public service superheroes” in local government should get a pay rise, according to Reading councillors.

The council backed a motion to write to the secretary of state for Housing, Communities and Local Government calling for a pay increase for council workers funded by central government.

Councillor Ellie Emberson put forward the motion at Monday’s (November 4) Full Council meeting, calling for the government to back union proposals.

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She said: “Our workers are public service superheroes. They keep our communities clean, look after those in need and keep our towns and cities running.

“Without the professionalism and dedication of our staff, the Council services our residents rely on would not be deliverable.

“Government funding has been cut to the extent that a proper pay rise could result in a reduction in local government services.

“The government needs to take responsibility and fully fund increases in pay; it should not put the burden on local authorities whose funding has been cut to the bone.”

Local government unions have called for a 10 per cent rise for all council staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and a £10 per hour minimum rate.

Workers have seen their pay cut in real terms by 22 per cent since 2010.

Conservative councillors opposed the motion, with the rest of the council in support.

Tory councillor Raj Singh attacked the Labour group for “using workers as a political football” and said he is “appalled at the language used”.

He launched a tirade against Labour, attacking the record of the council and Labour governments.

Cllr Singh said Labour’s “failed past led to a rise in food banks and austerity” and Labour councillors “do not have the moral right to talk about government’s local cuts”.

His comments did not go down well with Labour councillors.

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Councillor Sophia James said he had derailed a proposal about raising local government workers wages and called him an “absolute disgrace”.

Leader of RBC councillor Jason Brock quipped “where did you get this guy from?” and said he was “embarrassed for” Cllr Singh.