Jobs will go if Labour makes good on its manifesto pledge to link the minimum wage to average earnings, the Association of Convenience Stores has warned.

If re-elected, Labour has vowed to lift the minimum wage by the same rate as average earnings rise over the next five years.

Previously, the average wage was among several factors considered by the Low Pay Commission, which had more freedom to set the minimum wage.

“At this time shops are facing increasing energy costs, increasing cost of lending and finance and other employment costs such as additional holiday entitlement and pension contributions,” said ACS chief executive James Lowman (pictured).

“When the minimum wage increases, retailers cut jobs, staff hours and investment, and if we see further increases in line with average earnings we can expect to see more of these cost saving measures being implemented.”

Since the first national minimum wage came into force in 1998, average earnings have increased by 46.9%, inflation by 21.6%, and the minimum wage by 65%.

It will rise by 2.2% to £5.92 an hour on 1 October.

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