The British Retail Consortium has pledged to fight Labour to ensure that next year’s planned minimum wage rises do not get the green light. In its manifesto, Labour said it would increase the current £4.85 minimum wage to £5.35 by October 2006.
However, BRC director general Kevin Hawkins told The Grocer that he had met with the Low Pay Commission since the May 5 election to discuss limiting rises for 2006 and beyond. Although the next rise, of 4% in October this year, is already a done deal, Hawkins said he hoped that 2006’s further increase of 6% would be revised down.
“The LPC told us that they would be revisiting next year’s minimum wage scheduled increase in light of macroeconomic conditions. The secretary also said he will take further evidence about the general state of trade into account.”
Meanwhile, the Association of Convenience Stores has vowed to hold Labour to its election pledges. “We have been noting carefully their promises on VAT, regulatory burdens, crime and anti-social behaviour, and competition,” said ACS chief executive David Rae.