The Association of Convenience Stores has urged the Low Pay Commission to fully consider the impact of the national living wage on local shops and other businesses after a consultation was published seeking views on the issue.

The Commission’s consultation asks for views on the future rate of the National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage, although the National Living Wage rate of £7.20 per hour for 2016 has already been dictated by the Chancellor in the 2015 Budget.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We support the Low Pay Commission gathering and assessing evidence to set the minimum wage rate for under 25s, but this should be extended to setting the mandatory pay rates for all staff without pressure from Government to hit an arbitrary £9 per hour target by 2020. It is totally wrong that the independent commission have had their powers reduced so drastically, and that wage rates are now being set by the chancellor based on politics.

“We will play a full part in this consultation, setting out the devastating impact of the national living wage, which puts thousands of stores and jobs at risk in our sector, as well as undermining investment and leading to price increases. We need convenience retailers to tell us about the impact of the living wage on their business, in terms of staffing and investment decisions, so that we can make the best possible case to the Low Pay Commission.”

The consultation also sets out the intention to bring NLW and NMW recommendations into the same time frame – currently minimum wage recommendations are made in February, while the first living wage recommendation is due to be made in October 2016.

The consultation is due to run until September 25th.