The Scottish Grocer’s Federation has criticised the Government’s timing following its announcement of the increase in the national minimum wage –up by 1.2% from October 1, 2009. It mens the the adult NMW rate will increase from £5.73 per hour to £5.80.

John Drummond, chief executive of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) said: “While this is a more realistic rise in the NMW compared to previous years it is still an increase in costs for small retailers already struggling with escalating levels of regulation and bureaucracy while in the grips of a recession.

“A survey of SGF members conducted earlier in the year unanimously supported the national minimum wage remaining at its current level until the economic situation improved.

“For many small retailers, this increase combined with the effect of a recession and its impact on customer footfall, has left them with no alternative but to  review staffing levels and to consider a reduction in hours and in the worst case scenario redundancies.

“Many convenience store owners earn less than the minimum wage as they have no alternative but to work the additional hours themselves.  A 60 to 65 hour working week is not uncommon for a convenience store owner.”