The Federation of Independent Retailers (NFRN) says the planned minimum wage increase will be a bitter blow to small businesses that are already struggling to survive.
If, as expected, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces the UK’s minimum wage will go up from £8.91 to £9.50 an hour in his autumn Budget on Wednesday, independent retailers will bear the brunt unless they receive help from the government.
NFRN National President Narinder Randhawa said:
“Rather than boosting many shop workers’ incomes, the proposed increase will have the opposite effect of threatening jobs in the sector.
“We would all like to pay our staff more, but the headline increase in the wage rate does not include the increase in National Insurance and pension contributions that employers also have to pay.
“Given that many of the items on sale in our 11,000 members’ stores – particularly newspapers and magazines – are price marked, retailers are unable to increase their prices to cover these additional payrolls costs.
“Independent retailers have already been hit hard by the Covid pandemic, with many having to reduce staff levels and hours and take on more of the work themselves. This increase to the national minimum wage will only make matters worse.
“At a time when small businesses need help and support more than ever, this move by the government feels like a kick in the teeth for those that are already struggling to survive.”