Budget reaction: can businesses afford minimum wage increases?

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Yesterday – 9/07/2015 – witnessed the first Conservative budget for almost 20 years, having spent the last few years sharing budget responsibilities with the Liberal Democrats as part of the Coalition.

It has produced a few headlines concerning the impact on welfare cuts, all of which affect the whole of society. Yet for businesses, the two big initiatives include:

Increase in Minimum Wage

Minimum wage is planned to increase next year to £7.20, but the Chancellor announced yesterday that the government is anticipating a big hike over the next few years, with minimum wage going up to £9 an hour by 2020.

To protect businesses against the rise, the government will cut employer national insurance contributions by £3000. However there are genuine concerns that this alone is not enough and the rise might possibly result in job losses, particularly affecting small businesses. The nation is currently suffering from a productivity slump, which makes increases in wage problematic as increases tend to go hand-in-hand with increased productivity. Right now the nation’s productivity is around 30% behind our European neighbours.

21 and over 18-20 16 and 17 Apprentices
From 1 October 2014 £6.50 £5.13 £3.79 £2.73
From 1 October 2015 £6.70 £5.30 £3.87 £3.30

Sunday Trading Laws

The chancellor announced that consultation will take place with local authorities on extending shop opening hours on Sunday. Right now, it is going no further than consultation, yet with a growing appetite for shopping on Sundays, it is anticipated that extensions are likely to be granted, putting an end to a national ban on large stores staying open for more than six hours.

For businesses that trade on Sundays, the change will have an impact on various employment issues, from recruitment, costs to amending employee contracts.

Click on the link to access the full Summer Budget.

If any of the issues raised in this article affect your business, please give us a call to discuss your options. We are happy to advise and find a solution that works for you and your business: 0800 912 7152

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