BRC calls for clarity

“Shrouded in mystery” that is the conclusion of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) in response to an independent report it commissioned from Oxford University about how minimum wage increases are set.
The organisation has said that an open, predictable process, genuinely based on economics, should replace the current process.

Findings of the report include the fact that the National Minimum Wage (NMW) has risen by 46% since 1999, “ahead of any of the economic indicators that should be influencing it.”

The report recommends that annual increases should be guided by the index of median earnings.

BRC director general Kevin Hawkins said: “After two previous inflation-busting increases the Low Pay Commission deserves praise for giving businesses time to recover and recommending no real-terms increase this year. But this is a bigger debate than just the size of the next increase. It’s about achieving a long-term framework for certainty and affordability.

“Taken together, the erratic increases of the past have outstripped all the economic indicators that should have guided them. This is now undermining many retailers’ ability to create jobs while the uncertainty over future costs disrupts attempts to plan investment, recruitment and pay settlements.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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