Low Pay Commission to announce next change to minimum wage

The Low Pay Commission will deliver its latest recommendations on the national minimum wage to the government later today.

The commission, a statutory body whose role is to advise the government, will state that it wants the national minimum wage to build on its initial success by producing the maximum benefit for low-paid workers without damaging business and employment prospects.

But retailers continue to call for a fundamental review of the ultimate goal of the minimum wage.

The British Retail Consortium believes the national minimum wage has reached the tipping point. It said an increase to £5.35 in October 2006 could lead to about 35,000 jobs being lost and will create an additional cost of £1.13bn to the retail sector.

“Above-inflation increases in the national minimum wage have had a serious impact on retailers of all sizes,” said Kevin Hawkins, director-general at the consortium.

“The trading climate last year and into the early part of 2006 has been tough and it is likely to remain so. We feel the national minimum wage has now reached a level where we need to take stock of where we are going.

“In-depth discussion about whether the costs are now outweighing the benefits need to include a review of the future role of the Low Pay Comission.”

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