Labour’s plans to link the national minimum wage to average earnings has been met with criticism from independent retailers.

A survey by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) in 2013 showed that 87% of retailers were made to reduce staff hours due to increases in employment costs, while 75% have delayed expansion plans.

James Lowman, ACS chief executive, said: “We support national minimum wage and the protection it provides to workers, but forcing large annual hikes in the minimum wage rate, in the way that the Labour Party proposals suggest, will threaten investment and prevent local shops from creating jobs.”

The majority of the 1,100 retailers interviewed by the Voice of Local Shops survey believed that they earn less than minimum wage when all of their working hours are taken into account.

The national minimum wage is currently set by the Low Pay Commission, an objective body assessing the impact of wage increases on employees and employers alike.

Mr Lowman added: “The success of the national minimum wage over the last 15 years is based on ensuring that politics is removed from how rates are set. It is vital that this does not change.”

The Labour Party is set to publish a report by Alan Buckle on wages policy.  ACS made detailed comments as part of Alan Buckle’s review.