The Scottish Grocers’ Federation has dismissed the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s suggestion that the UK ‘can afford’ a rise in the national minimum wage to £7 an hour.
Chief Executive John Drummond said,
“George Osborne has to get real: he has no idea about what local shops can really afford. The disappointing retail sales figures in December show just how tough the economic climate still is in Scotland and local shops simply cannot absorb this extra cost - government must stop adding to the cost of doing business. George Osborne recently announced that business rates will be capped at 2%; the benefit to business from this will be swiftly undone by any significant rises in the national minimum wage.
We desperately need coherent and consistent pro-business policies from government not just giving with one hand and promptly taking back with the other.
This rise may lead to cuts in the number of staff or reductions to their working hours. The best way to protect local jobs and encourage investment is to freeze the national minimum wage at the current level.”
The actual cost to a retailer for a full time employee is likely to be over £8 per hour when holiday entitlement and national insurance contributions are taken into account.