I have a very strong desire to increase the wages of the shop floor staff we employ and would be delighted to give them a 10% increase in their weekly pay at no cost to our future sustainability.

All our people are currently above the national minimum wage, but in some cases only by a very small margin. The vast majority of our colleagues are weekly paid staff valiantly making ends meet, and by far the largest overhead in the business is wages and salaries.

Unfortunately, this important subject seems to be a matter of political expediency and point scoring rather than making intelligent evidence-based decisions for the good of the country.

George Osborne’s attempt to appear caring and “comment” that he wishes to see a NMW of £7 per hour are a case in point. The Low Pay Commission has been set up to carefully regulate the NMW without danger of short termism or bias. While not everyone will agree with their conclusions every year, we have a settled mechanism that works.

Most importantly, the Commission also understand that a minimum wage is just that - a minimum that provides a safety net to low-paid employees who might otherwise suffer exploitation. However much we might wish a minimum wage to be a “living wage”, basic numeracy dictates that it can only ever be lower than we might wish unless we introduce a national wage at a uniform level across the country.

“My colleagues deserve a better wage and standard of living”

The knock-on effects are also important to consider. We take pride in paying slightly above NMW, but could not do so after an increase of this magnitude. We also have a structured pay policy and would face ‘concertinaing’ or a massive increase in overheads. We would have to carefully consider staffing levels and would be much less likely to take on additional people. Any growth plans are likely to be affected, due to new costing equations.

Particularly important for our business would be the effect on the partnership bonus, which we pay in recognition of our employee ownership. We take this bonus very seriously and aspire to work together to gradually increase it so we can reward our modestly paid staff for their consistent efforts to work together to meet customer needs.

The effects of such an arbitrary and economically illiterate change would mean that I doubt any bonus would be achievable for several years to come - there is no magic ability to absorb such a major cost change.

My colleagues deserve a better wage and standard of living, and I want them to have it. George Osborne’s job is to sort out the economy to allow this rather than indulge in political point scoring with Eds Miliband and Balls.

Steve Parfett is chairman of AG Parfett & Sons