The Association of Convenience Stores has claimed that over 24,000 local stores and 80,000 jobs could be put at risk by the National Living Wage policy introduced by the Chancellor in this month’s Budget.
The ACS has published a detailed analysis of the impact of the introduction of a £7.20 national living wage in April 2016 – which is set to increase to £9 by 2020. The research has established that the total cost a £7.20 national living wage will be £166m across the convenience sector, which will leave retailers with no option but to cut staff numbers or even look at closing their stores.
ACS Chief Executive, James Lowman said the Association had always supported a national minimum wage, but said that the move to a higher compulsory national living wage would have a devastating impact on the sector. “Our analysis only looks at the increase to a £7.20 national living wage from 2016, and as this rises to £9 by 2020 there could be far greater effect than even these figures suggest,” he said. “This analysis is backed up by evidence provided by our members which shows that they will be closing stores and laying staff off as a result of this policy.”
He said that the chancellor must face up to the impact of the national living wage on businesses, and continue to let the independent Low Pay Commission set rates through to 2020. “The government also needs to look at other ways of supporting retailers hit by this new burden,” he added.
Although there has been an increase in Employment Allowance this provides comparatively small compensation for convenience stores.