Shops urge caution on minimum wage

Retailers have urged the Government to limit next year's increase in the minimum wage to enable them to carry on creating jobs.

The minimum wage rises today to £5.93 from £5.80 an hour, a rise of 2.2 per cent. But the British Retail Consortium has demanded that next year's increase must not be more than 1.7 per cent, to help retailers continue creating jobs.

Stephen Robertson, the BRC's director general, said: "Anything up to a 1.7 per cent increase in next year's minimum wage strikes asensible balance between helping low-paid workers and enabling retailers to create and maintain jobs. It's the private sector that will drive the economic growth that will provide the jobs and tax revenues of the future."

His warning follows the speech by Ed Miliband, the new Labour Party leader, on Tuesday, who called for a "living wage" of about £7.