UK business group urges government to think about minimum wageStaff Writer | October 1, 2016
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) published a survey of businesses, which shows that 34% of companies have had to increase their wage bills since the introduction of the National Living Wage (NLW) in April 2016.
Britain The survey of more than 1,600 business leaders
A quarter of affected firms (25%) have reduced recruitment.
A quarter of affected firms (25%) have reduced recruitment in response, and 34% plan to do so if the NLW rises to £9 per hour by 2020. Others are looking at changes to staff hours, benefits or pay growth.
These changes reflect the rising cost burden on many companies. Although the majority (65%) of firms pay their staff above the NLW of £7.20 per hour and have not been affected, 25% of those that were affected have increased their wage bill slightly, and 9% have increased their wage bill significantly.
The businesses most exposed to the NLW have largely absorbed the increase in costs for now, but plan to pursue cost reduction measures if the NLW increases to £9 per hour. The BCC urges the government to use caution with future NLW increases.
Most businesses pay their staff above the NLW, but more than a third have increased their wage bills since it was introduced in April 2016.
Of the firms whose wage bill increased because of the NLW, most have not yet made major changes, but more of these firms expect to do so if the NLW rises to £9 by 2020.
Only 34% of businesses affected by the NLW raised prices to offset the cost, but 63% would do so if it rose to £9 by 2020.
Of the businesses affected by the introduction of the NLW, 25% reduced recruitment in response, 18% reduced staff hours, 18% reduced pay growth, 24% reduced staff benefits, 25% reduced recruitment, and 37% made no changes.
If the NLW increases to £9 per hour by 2020, 25% would reduce staff hours, 29% would reduce pay growth, 33% would reduce staff benefits, 34% would reduce recruitment, and 13% would make no changes. ■