Letter: Minimum wage helps small firms

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your leading article of 11 February suggested that some jobs in small businesses would be lost as a result of a national minimum wage. It should also be pointed out that a minimum wage would protect many small businesses from the predatory pricing policies of larger competitors.

I met a couple who run a fish and chip shop. Their employees are mostly members of their own family and they earn decent wages. A few months ago a fast food chain set up an outlet opposite their shop. The workers there are paid only pounds 2 per hour. Because their labour costs are lower, the fast food chain can undercut the fish and chip shop. The owners think they will go out of business next year.

The cruellest irony is that this family is paying taxes to subsidise through the benefit system the low wages paid by the fast food chain. If a Labour government ends this scam it will do us all a favour.

Dr MARK PATTON

Lewes, East Sussex

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