The national minimum wage is to rise by 3 per cent in October following a confirmation by Business Secretary Vince Cable this morning (12 March).
In a speech he said the Government had accepted all of the Low Pay Commission‘s recommendations.
The rise, which oustrips January‘s inflation rates of 1.9 per cent, was met with disappointment by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS.)
“We are disappointed with the increase in the National Minimum Wage above inflation, above average earnings growth, and above public sector pay award levels. Our research has clearly shown that retailers have little choice but to reduce staff hours and delay further business investment when the minimum wage is increased,” said ACS Chief Executive James Lowman.
Rick Abbotts, Worcestershire chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses said he hoped the rise would not deter business taking on additional staff.
“The UK still has a huge unemployment problem and, collectively, small/medium businesses are the largest employer,” he said.
The 2013 ACS Minimum Wage Survey showed that 87 per cent of retailers have reduced staff hours within their business as a result of increases in employment costs, while 75 per cent have delayed expansion and investment plans. Findings from the Voice of Local Shops survey of 1,100 retailers earlier this year revealed that the majority of independent retailers believe that they earn less than the national minimum wage when their working hours are taken into account.