Businesses welcome minimum wage decision
The fact that the government has only increased the national minimum wage by the rate of inflation is good news for the UK's SMEs, according to an industry body.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) had previously called on the government to only increase the minimum wage by the rate of inflation, as opposed to the above-inflation increases that have been seen in recent years.
After the government announced that the minimum wage would only increase by 17p this year, BRC director general Kevin Hawkins said: "This is good news and exactly what we asked for.
"The BRC is the only business organisation that has consistently argued for no real-terms increase in minimum wage costs and backed that up with detailed evidence.
"Hard-pressed retailers have had to cope with a £2.7 billion hike in wage bills caused by the previous two above-inflation increases."
Mr Hawkins added that what SMEs wanted was "an end to this annual uncertainty". He called on Low Pay Commission to commit to "no real-terms increase next year either" and "a more predictable formula for future changes".
From October, the minimum wage for workers over 21 will be set at £5.52 an hour. When minimum wages were re-introduced in 1999, the level was £3.60 an hour.
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