Small shop owners have described the minimum wage increase as “another blow for retailers”.

Business secretary Vince Cable this week confirmed the national minimum wage for adults would increase from £6.08 to £6.19 per hour from October. The youth development rate is to remain at £4.98.

Both the Association of Convenience Stores and the Scottish Grocers’ Federation said the increase would hit retailers hard. “Retailers have little choice but to reduce staff hours and delay investment when the minimum wage is increased,” said ACS CEO James Lowman, who called for the adult national rate for 2012-2013 to be frozen.

SGF CEO John Drummond added: “Research shows a 2% rise, on top of costs like NI contributions and holiday entitlement, will mean that the actual cost per hour for a full-time employee will be £7.23.”

However, the BRC said that, as a modest increase, it was a “thoroughly wise decision”.

“This sensible increase shows appropriate restraint at a time of falling inflation and rising unemployment,” said director general Stephen Robertson.

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