The Government’s decision to introduce a mandatory living wage for workers over 25 has been described as “a reckless measure that will have a significant negative impact on the sector”, by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The introduction of a compulsory ‘Living Wage’ will have a devastating impact on thousands of convenience stores. This will lead to retailers having to reduce staff hours, work more hours in their business and ultimately cancel their investment plans. To introduce this measure with no consultation undermines the independent Low Pay Commission and is a reckless way to impose a massive burden on small businesses.”

The Budget document says: “The government will introduce a new premium for those aged 25 and over starting at 50 pence leading to a new National Living Wage (NLW) of £7.20 in April 2016. The government’s ambition is for the NLW to increase to 60% of median earnings by 2020, and it will ask the Low Pay Commission to recommend the premium rate in light of this ambition going forward. On OBR [Office for Budget Responsibility] forecasts, this means the NLW is expected to reach the government’s target of over £9 by 2020.”