District's small business owners against rise in minimum wage

Staff member Daniel Thake with Kevin Taylor

Staff member Daniel Thake with Kevin Taylor

First published in News
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter - Epping Forest

Business owners have said a planned increase in the minimum wage would mean they would be forced to reduce staff hours.

Chancellor George Osborne yesterday recommended an above inflation increase to the minimum wage.

If implemented workers over the age of 21 would see their pay rise from £6.31 an hour to £7 by the start of 2015.

Daniel Buss, owner of Waltham Abbey shop Stanley Bridge Cycles in Leverton Way, said: “The rise would affect us, without a doubt.

“I either put my prices up, and risk losing custom, or I reduce staff hours in order to keep the wage bill the same.

“It would mean I would just have to work the hours to make up for it.”

Mr Buss and his business partners employ three members of staff full time and two part-time.

He added: “Some of the bigger companies will be able to swallow the cost but small retailers will really struggle.”

Another small business owner, Kevin Taylor, of Taylor’s Cards in The Broadway, Debden, said: “We are a small business and it would put more of a strain on us.

“I can’t put my prices up because I would lose out.

“From an employee’s point of view it’s a good thing because it hasn’t gone up with inflation in recent years but the government need to think carefully about the proposal in case it ends up ruining small businesses.”

The employer of five added: “They need to come up with something else to make sure they balance the cost for small businesses.”

In favour of the proposal was waitress Diane Purcell, who works part-time at Epping Tea Rooms in High Street, Epping.

She said: “It’s a good thing because the minimum wage is not enough to live on at the moment.

“It shouldn’t affect small businesses that much because it’s only a small increase and small businesses don’t employ many staff.”

The single mother-of-two has her income supplemented by tax credits.

She added: “£7 an hour would be plenty to live on and it would reduce the benefit bill for the taxpayer.”

Comments (1)

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8:35am Sat 18 Jan 14

Helen, Walthamstow says...

Since many people on the Minimum Wage, especially those with families, still need benefit to live, maybe any small businesses which are really struggling to pay a higher hourly rate - and I mean really - should be able to apply for support instead of their employees.

But having said that, even the Minimum Wage is inadequate, bringing in under £12,000 pa for a full-time worker. Much better is the higher Living Wage which is calculated annually by the Rowntree Foundation based on the actual cost of living and what a person or family requires to fulfil basic needs.

Many employers are moving towards the Living Wage and finding that it has benefits for them as well as for the recipients.

To learn more, go to livingwage.org.uk.
Since many people on the Minimum Wage, especially those with families, still need benefit to live, maybe any small businesses which are really struggling to pay a higher hourly rate - and I mean really - should be able to apply for support instead of their employees. But having said that, even the Minimum Wage is inadequate, bringing in under £12,000 pa for a full-time worker. Much better is the higher Living Wage which is calculated annually by the Rowntree Foundation based on the actual cost of living and what a person or family requires to fulfil basic needs. Many employers are moving towards the Living Wage and finding that it has benefits for them as well as for the recipients. To learn more, go to livingwage.org.uk. Helen, Walthamstow
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