Chris Brook-Carter, chief executive of the retail industry charity the Retail Trust has commented on today’s today’s budget announcement given by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, welcoming the increase to the national living wage. The rate for those aged over 23 will rise to £9.50 an hour from £8.91, giving a full-time worker will get £1,074 extra a year before tax.
Minimum pay rates for younger workers are also set to go up. The National Minimum Wage for people aged 21-22 will rise from £8.36 to £9.18 an hour and the Apprentice Rate will increase from £4.30 to £4.81 an hour.
Says Chris: “Financial stress can cause a range of mental health issues so we very much welcome the increase in national living wage in today’s budget. This has the potential to provide much-needed relief for thousands of retail workers who have faced extraordinary financial, physical and emotional pressures over the last year and a half.
“As a charity, the Retail Trust has given out £1.2million of non-repayable financial aid since the start of the pandemic to help people working in the industry to pay bills and keep a roof over their heads. We have also run more than 11,000 counselling sessions for those struggling with mental health challenges.
“Our only hope is that the increased wages bill that will follow doesn’t lead to more job losses or retailers having to close more stores. Retail employment is absolutely vital in tackling issues like social mobility and supporting young people into jobs and training so the measures announced around business rates will be really important when it comes to helping retailers’ ongoing recovery from the pandemic.”
The British Independent Retailers Assocation (Bira) has also commented on today’s Budget, which you can read here.