FT - James Lowman, chairman, ACS

ACS chief executive James Lowman

The body that sets the National Living Wage (NLW) has been urged to consider the unique challenges facing employers at the current time and to take a cautious approach when setting future NLW rates.

Giving oral evidence to the Low Pay Commission (LPC) on July 14, ACS chief executive James Lowman urged caution on further NLW increases, highlighting the unique and significant challenges faced by convenience retailers as a result of the cost of living crisis, increased energy and supply chain costs and other regulatory challenges.

He said: “Local shops are experiencing rising operating costs in a similar way to households and many retailers have had to absorb costs impacting their profitability, pass on increases through higher prices and reduce staff hours and numbers.

“It is vital that the government seeks to set wage rates which avoid negative impacts on businesses and support the good quality employment available in our sector. We are urging the Low Pay Commission to take the current economic situation into context when setting future wage rates, looking at the significant disruption that businesses and consumers are experiencing as a result of the cost of living and cost of trading crisis.”

ACS has been engaging with the LPC to highlight the challenges faced by retailers as a result of increasing wage rates. This includes a recent store visit by a Low Pay Commissioner to a convenience store in Sussex which provided the opportunity for the Commissioner to hear first-hand evidence about the impact of the National Living Wage and employment costs on the business.

ACS has also submitted written evidence to the Low Pay Commission.