UK retailers today warn that another rise in the National Minimum Wage (NMW) could lead to more than 20,000 jobs being lost and would cost the retail sector an extra £2.7bn.
In a British Retail Consortium survey on the impact of the minimum wage, 44 per cent of respondents said they would be forced to make job cuts if the Low Pay Commission recommends an increase to £5.20.
The survey also claims that the last rise, to £4.85, which came into effect on 1 October to has already cost retailers £1.7bn.
Kevin Hawkins, director general of the BRC, said: “There is clearly no justification for further increases to the National Minimum Wage in real terms.
“The survey has confirmed retailer’s fears, that an ill thought-out decision on this will hit every retailer hard. The retail industry employs 2.8 million people – 11 per cent of the total UK workforce – but many retailers will have no choice but to make job cuts.”
It is now up to the Low Pay Commission to act appropriately and “keep the wage at a sensible level” in line with current economic conditions, Hawkins added.