The British Retail Consortium is calling on the government to support retail businesses and to introduce new measures to boost “productivity” through sustainable pay and career progression rather than enforcing higher wages for staff.

In its submission to Chancellor George Osborne’s ahead of his emergency budget on July 8, the BRC is asking the government to respect the independence of the Low Pay Commission and exploring tax incentives for business that encourage higher rates of pay.

It also suggests targeting low earners with lower taxation “rather than artificially inflating pay” and helping employees to more productive jobs by supporting skills acquisition and targeting.

The BRC also rejects proposals for an “arbitrary increase” in the national minimum wage or introduction of a living wage, stating: “These suggestions are not only blunt instruments, but, when combined with a reduction in benefits, won’t put any more money in people’s pockets.”

BRC director general Helen Dickinson added: “Our submission focuses on the goals shared by the Government and the retail industry. Retailers know they’re nothing without their people. As the largest private sector employer in the UK we have a duty of care to nearly three million employees. We’re proud of the opportunities we offer to people from all backgrounds from the highly skilled to those with little or no formal qualifications.

“Both retailers and the government know that there’s more to be done to improve productivity and to help people to progress to higher rates of pay. The barriers to progression and higher productivity are varied and complex. Unpicking these issues and developing sustainable solutions is the right approach.”

Other issues highlighted by the BRC includes calling for “fundamental reform” of business rates, which “enables a successful reinvention of our high streets,” as well as EU reform such as incentivising enterprise rather than acting as a “barrier to it”.

 

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