Commenting on the increase to the National Minimum Wage announced today, Dr Adam Marshall, Director of Policy and External Affairs at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: 

“The National Minimum Wage increase took some of the shine off a Budget that had small and medium-sized businesses at its heart.  

“It is astounding that the Government would increase the minimum wage by 2.2% at a time when private sector wages are virtually flat, and companies across the country are still making tough choices to keep as many people in employment as possible. While the recession may be over, the jobs market will remain tough for some time to come.   

“A near-doubling on last year’s increase is even more astounding. Combined with next year’s rise in employer National Insurance Contributions, a minimum wage that’s a ‘one-way bet’ could stop some businesses taking on new workers.”