Minimum wage rise should not run ahead of average wage rises says BRC.
The British Retail Consortium has attacked the government over a rise in the minimum wage that was revealed in documents published immediately after the budget.
At a time when small businesses have worked hard to preserve jobs by freezing wages, the rise of 2.2 percent from £5.80 per hour to £5.93 in October 2010 will put further pressure on profits.
“The BRC supports the principle of the minimum wage, but it’s sheer madness to be forcing new costs on this scale onto retailers and their suppliers,” said British Retail Consortium director general Stephen Robertson.
“This increase is downright irresponsible. It’s at odds with Government promises of prudence and public sector freezes and will damage retailers’ ability to maintain and create jobs. How can an increase of virtually double last year’s be justified? Economic conditions were far weaker in the run up to this year’s decision than twelve months earlier,” he added.
Robertson also criticised the way in which the move was announced. "A measure of this magnitude should have been in the Budget speech,” he stated.
BRC is calling for a mechanism whereby increases in the national minimum wage do not exceed average earning inflation in the future.