Plans to increase the national minimum wage to £8 an hour by 2020 are “reckless” and will “damage” small businesses, retailers have warned.

Following last week’s announcement by David Cameron that “it’s time Britain had a pay rise,” retailers have spoken of the ‘significant cost’ of the minimum wage on them, and called for an end to “political posturing”.

Speaking at the British Chamber of Commerce annual conference, Cameron said that business is the strongest it has been in seven years, and  that employees now need to see the benefits of that economic growth.

In response, ACS chief executive James Lowman  said that the pay rise could financially damage retailers.

“The national minimum wage is already a significant cost for retailers and we know that when the minimum wage rises, staff cuts and reduced hours are some of the measures that have to be taken to ensure that a store remains viable,” said Lowman.

“The political posturing on the national minimum wage is irresponsible, and we encourage all parties to allow the independent Low Pay Commission to continue conducting their annual reviews of the minimum wage without interference or mandates from government.”

In response to the Prime Minister’s speech, Labour party leader Ed Miliband set out the parties key plans for British businesses.

Labour has outlined its support for “the country’s big employing sectors, such as retail” by cracking down on zero hour contracts and offering tax breaks for employers who adopt the living wage and raise the minimum wage to £8 an hour by 2020.