The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has called on the Low Pay Commission not to increase the National Minimum Wage in its recommendations for 2010.

In its submission to the Commission, ACS chief executive James Lowman said that retailers understood the need for a minimum wage but urged the Commission to consider the implications of an increase. 

“Local shops provide flexible local employment for hundreds of thousands of people,” he said. “Retailers in our sector support the need for a minimum wage but have found the increases of recent years hard to afford. The impact has been reduced hours, fewer jobs and reduced investment in important community businesses.

“In this precarious economic period any cost increases pose an even greater risk to businesses and jobs and therefore restraint is necessary.”

As part of the submission, the ACS provided a survey from 500 UK retailers about the impact that an increase in the National Minimum Wage will have on their businesses.

The National Minimum Wage will rise to £5.80 per hour from next month. The rate for 18-21 year olds will also increase to £4.83 and £3.57 for 16-17 year olds. The Low Pay Commission is due to announce its recommendations for 2010 in spring of next year.