Retailers have voiced their fears over the news that the Low Pay Commission has recommended a 3% rise in the national minimum wage.

The Government has yet to officially react to the Commission’s recommendations, which will raise the hourly rate to £6.50.

Trade organisations and individual retailers alike have expressed their concerns that the rise could become a reality, while even the man who helped found the Low Pay Commission called for wholesale changes to the system.

Costcutter retailer Paul Cheema, from Coventry, said: “Our sector can’t afford that 3%, we can’t put it on the bottom line. Owners will end up working longer hours themselbes, there will be job casualties. We’re now looking at budgets on a month by month basis, not year by year, we’ve only got ‘x’ amount to spend. If this was imposed, I would have to make cuts, my family would end up working longer hours.”

The ACS had already called for the national minimum wage to be frozen in its submission to the Low Pay Commission.

Chief executive James Lowman said: “We are disappointed that the commission has recommended an increase in the national minimum wage above inflation, above average earnings growth and above public sector pay award levels. Our research has clearly shown that retailers have little choice but to reduce staff hours and delay further business investment when the minimum wage is increased.”

Meanwhile, Professor Sir George Bain, founding chair of the Commission, has said both the Commission and current system should be reformed.

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