Employment rights groups and unions have been expressing their disgust as the Department for Employment announced this afternoon that the upcoming National Living Wage of £7.20 per hour for workers over 25 has been ABANDONED, leaving the figure at its existing level on £6.60. According to a leaked document that has been seen by Southend News Network, the Department for Employment and the Treasury took this joint decision after a number of letters were received from business owners in the UK that were ‘terrified’ over the potential impact that an extra 60p an hour would have on their companies, with a number of coffee shop chains even threatening to pull out of the UK altogether.
We managed to speak to some of the business leaders who contacted the government over the upcoming National Living Wage. Sir Charles Charlton, CEO of coffee shop chain Froth, said: ‘We have 457 branches around the UK, and in total Froth employs around 5000 people – 12% of these individuals are over the age of 25 and therefore would be entitled to this extra 60p per hour. We recently had to issue a profits warning as our predicted post-tax profits for January, February and March plummeted to £94m, and so it is clear that the proposed National Living Wage would have eaten this figure down to virtually zero. If we didn’t have so many of our ‘behind the scenes’ offices based in the Arctic Circle for tax reasons, the situation would be far, far worse. Therefore, as both a company leader and a human being, I am delighted that the government has seen sense and abandoned plans to increase the minimum wage.’
Lord Demetrious Nicap, Chairman of major online retailer Big Stuff, has also admitted that the upcoming National Living Wage has been giving him ‘nightmares’ – however in a Southend News Network EXCLUSIVE we can reveal that the company has found a loophole to ensure that their UK distribution centres remain profitable. He said: ‘We have 28 distribution centres that are operating in the United Kingdom, and we are currently in the process of moving them all offshore. This floating facilities will operate at various points surrounding the UK, but they will sail just far enough away from the shore to be in international waters – this means that we will not be obliged to pay the National Living Wage …. or come to think of it, any wage at all really.’