Retailers have given the thumbs-up to today's announcement by the government of a rise in the national minimum wage that will be below the current rate of inflation.

Retailers welcome ‘wise decision’ on 11p wage rise

Retailers have given the thumbs-up to today’s announcement by the government of a rise in the national minimum wage that will be below the current rate of inflation.

Retailers welcome 'wise decision' on 11p wage rise

From October, the wage will edge up 1.8%, or 11p, to £6.19 per hour.

The British Retail Consortium said the increase struck the right balance between helping retailers to maintain and create jobs and supporting low-income households.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “The government’s made a thoroughly wise decision. As the largest private sector employer, retail recognises its vital role in providing much-needed employment. Over 98% of people working for our members are paid more than the minimum wage, but this is the right move in the current economic conditions.

“This sensible increase shows appropriate restraint at a time of falling inflation and rising unemployment. One-point-eight per cent is within the limits the BRC’s evidence showed would allow retailers to create and maintain jobs. Any larger increase would have piled extra pressure on retailers at a time of weak customer demand.”

The government also said there would be a freeze in the minimum wage for workers under the age of 21.

“Freezing the youth rate may make a marginal difference to work opportunities for young people,” Robertson commented, “but retailers pay the rate for the job and the vast majority of under-20s working in retail are paid the adult rate.”

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