Retailers have criticised the government for being ‘anti-small business’ after it agreed to increase National Minimum Wage rates this week.

MPs accepted and published recommendations by the Low Pay Commission to increase minimum hourly rates for staff aged 24 and under, which will come into effect this October.

Shop workers aged 21 to 24 will see wages increase to £6.95 an hour (up 3.7%), while pay for workers aged 18 to 20 and 16 to 17 will rise to £5.55 (up 4.7%) and £4 (up 3.4%) respectively.

Conrad Davies, owner of four Spar stores in Wales, said the increases will place more pressure on him on top of the National Living Wage, which he estimates will cost him around £50,000 a year.

“We have 130 staff but we’ve had to make redundancies with Living Wage, and this places more burdens on us,” said Mr Davies.

“I thought the Tories were meant to be supporting independents, but all these policies are very anti-small business.”

Bintesh Amin, owner of two convenience stores in Kent, said he believed it should be up to employers to increase wages based on performance.