THE city council has no right to tell employers what to pay as part of a key planning policy, inspectors have said.

The authority wanted to ensure that any developers building more than 45 new homes paid its Oxford Living Wage, which is currently £10.02 an hour.

That clause would have also involved any developers building units of at least 1,000m².

But planning inspectors assessing the council's Local Plan said the section was unsuitable and must be deleted.

The plan also proposed developers should ensure that their work ‘secures construction jobs for local people’ and only use contractors who pay the Oxford Living Wage.

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The inspectors said in a letter sent to the council: “It is not appropriate for local planning authorities to intervene through the planning process in local businesses’ recruitment, materials procurement or pay policy because these items are outside of the realm of planning."

They added: “Planning should not seek to control matters that are covered by other legislation.”

Giles Lewis, Cherwell Development Watch Alliance’s chairman, said: “We are encouraged by the robust approach being taken by the inspectors appointed to examine the Oxford Local Plan and we welcome their recent letter saying that they will be looking closely at Oxford's unmet need at the hearings.”