TUC attacks CBI's minimum wage claims

04 October 2004
TUC attacks CBI's minimum wage claims

The TUC has hit back at claims from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) that the imminent rise in the national minimum wage will harm jobs and competitiveness.

The CBI's annual employment trends survey found that next month's increase in the minimum hourly rate, from £4.50 to £4.85, was a growing worry, especially to hotel, restaurant and retail firms.

Nearly 60% of those asked feared the rise would force up wage costs further along the line. Some 33% expected to cut hours, and 20% to cut jobs, to absorb the added costs.

But the TUC disputed that the minimum wage had cost jobs, saying it had helped fewer people per year than intended.

According to the Low Pay Commission, October's increase will affect 1.6 million people.

"The minimum wage has been a huge success, and further careful increases to boost the income of the low paid above inflation have always been part of the deal," said TUC general secretary Brendan Barber.

Martin Couchman, deputy chief executive at the British Hospitality Association, agreed that jobs had not been a casualty in hospitality, which suffers from a permanent 100,000 shortfall in workers.

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