ACS has given evidence to a hearing of the Low Pay Commission as part of its deliberations on the National Minimum Wage.

Speaking to commissioners, ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We urge the commission to recommend a freeze in the minimum wage. We are aware that there is significant political pressure to increase the rate, but commissioners must consider carefully the impact of wage inflation on the convenience sector.

“Recent minimum wage increases have heaped pressure on retailers. The most common coping strategies are cutting staff hours, increasing the risk of underemployment of staff and threatening effective customer service; as well as cancelling or postponing investment in the business.

“These pressures undermine retailers’ opportunity to compete and grow their business. In a poll conducted by ACS earlier this year 55% of independent retailers report earning less than the minimum wage themselves.”

The ACS evidence session is part of the Low Pay Commission’s evidence gathering for its report on the proposed minimum wage rate in October 2014. Its recommendations will be made in early 2014.

ACS has also led engagement with the commission including a focus group meeting for commissioners with retailers and visits to businesses around the country.