A government pledge to continue raising the national minimum wage (NMW) will
harm small businesses and undermine the role of the Low Pay Commission the
ACS (Association of Convenience Stores) has said.

In his speech to the Labour Party Conference, Prime Minister Gordon Brown
vowed that the NMW - which is 60% higher now than it was when it was first
introduced - would be raised every year for the next five years.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said the pledge would place further
pressures on businesses emerging from the economic downturn.
He also called on the government to “come clean” about whether it was now
over-riding the Low Pay Commission, and committing to set the minimum wage

“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.
The last thing these business need is more political grandstanding causing
further uncertainty and cost,” Lowman added.

The NMW wage is to increase by 7p an hour from tomorrow (Oct 1) to £5.80,
and by 6p to £4.83 for 18-to 21-year-olds.