The Low Pay Commission (LPC) has been called on to freeze the National Minimum Wage in 2014 to help businesses grow.

In its submission to the LPC, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) included findings from a survey of more than 900 stores which showed that 87% of retailers had reduced staff hours while 75% had delayed their expansion and investment plans.

The ACS minimum wage survey, conducted in partnership with the Scottish Grocers’ Federation, also revealed that 63% of retailers were forced to let staff go over the past 12 months, with 85% of those respondents attributing this to increased employments costs.

The ACS Local Shops Report also recently highlighted that 83% of retailers had increased their own working hours to reduce employment costs, with 57% of shop owners working more than 50 hours per week.

ACS chief executive James Lowman called for a freeze in the minimum wage to allow retailers grow their businesses.

“We urge the Low Pay Commission to consider carefully the implications that a rise in minimum wage would have on thousands of hard-working retailers who are already cutting staff hours to stay afloat,” he said. “A freeze in 2014 would give small business owners a welcome reprieve and allow them to invest in their long term future.”

The Low Pay Commission is due to make its recommendations on the National Minimum Wage early next year.