Convenience stores’ representatives have expressed concerns over the Low Pay Commission’s recommendation for a 3% increase in the National Minimum Wage.
Addressing a committee of MPs, business secretary Vince Cable said the Low Pay Commission had recommended a 3% increase in the minimum wage, which would take the adult rate to £6.50 per hour. However, he stated that he was “not announcing here the Government’s decision on the minimum wage rate, but it seems appropriate to bring the committee up to date with where we currently are within that process.”
Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) chief executive James Lowman said: “We are disappointed that the Commission has recommended an 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.”
The 2013 ACS Minimum Wage Survey showed that 87% of retailers have reduced staff hours within their business as a result of increases in employment costs, while 75% 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.
Lowman continued: “Despite our concerns with the recommendations revealed today on national minimum wage, we firmly believe that the Low Pay Commission is best placed to recommend the wage rates and should be allowed to do so outside of any political pressure”.
In its submission to the Low Pay Commission, ACS recommended a freeze in the national minimum wage.