19/03/12

Commenting on the government’s decisions today on National Minimum Wage rates from October 2012, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

On the Youth and Development rates:

“Business has been telling the government for some time that the minimum wage cannot be a one-way bet, particularly when we have over one million young people unemployed. We are pleased that ministers have heeded our call to freeze the youth and development wage rates. Freezing these rates will ensure employers are not put off from employing young people, and give them more confidence to invest in their training.

“In this week’s budget, the government should also be more radical, and devote additional resources to the Youth Contract to help small and medium-sized businesses with the up-front costs of taking on young people.”

On the adult National Minimum Wage rate:

“We are disappointed that the government has chosen to raise the adult National Minimum Wage rate by 1.8%, far above our recommendation. While the pressures of inflation are hurting many people, especially the lowest-paid, this decision adds significantly to the cost of doing business, and feeds wage inflation at higher levels.

“In his Budget on Wednesday, the Chancellor should offset the hike in the National Minimum Wage by scrapping the huge business rate rise which will affect many businesses from April. This rate rise will stop many from employing more people, whether on minimum wage or above.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

A link to the Low Pay Commission’s report can be found here.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is the national voice of local business.

The BCC sits at the heart of a powerful nationwide network of Accredited Chambers of Commerce, serving over 100,000 businesses across the UK, which employ over five million people. For more information visit: www.britishchambers.org.uk

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