Trade groups slam raise in minimum wage

BODIES representing independent retailers north and south of the border have criticised the Westminster government’s decision to increase the minimum wage by 12p an hour.
After hearing from the independent advisory body the Low Pay Commission, last month business secretary Vince Cable announced that, as of 1 October, the adult minimum will be £6.31. The rate for 18-20 year olds will increase by 5p to £5.03, while 16-17 year olds will get an extra 4p, bringing their rate up to £3.72.
But Scottish Grocers’ Federation chief executive John Drummond said: “The UK government has ignored businesses and delivered another blow to community shops. Staff costs are always the biggest costs our members have. This rise may lead to cuts in the number of staff or reductions to their working hours.”
South of the border the rise was described as a “barrier to growth” by Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman.
“This increase will result in reduced employment,” said Lowman. “In the current economic climate, the right decision for businesses would have been to freeze minimum wage.”
The GMB trade union’s general secretary Paul Kenny took a different line. “The rise is well below inflation so the living standards of the people at the bottom end of the scale will fall,” he said.