With the hourly minimum wage going up 2.2% today to £5.93 from £5.80, the British Retail Consortium says next year’s increase must be no more than 1.7%.
The Low Pay Commission is currently considering October 2011’s increase, which will be announced next spring.
The BRC is warning that any increase above 1.7% – the average rate of earnings increases over the last 12 months – would seriously impede retailers’ ability to create jobs.
“There’s a delicate compromise between higher wages and more jobs,” says BRC director general Stephen Robertson. “But the best protection for wages is preserving jobs to keep people working.
“Anything up to a 1.7% increase in next year’s minimum wage strikes a sensible balance between helping low-paid workers and enabling retailers to create and maintain jobs. It’s the private sector that will drive the economic growth that will provide the jobs and tax revenues of the future.”