On the same day as the government said the national minimum wage for over-21s will rise in October from £4.50 to £4.85 an hour, and for 16 and 17 year-olds to £3 an hour, just one-sixth of businesses said they would be suffer a significant loss of profits or have to make redundancies if the hourly-rate reached £5, the survey revealed.
The ICAEW polled more than 1,000 chartered accountants and found that problems would only arise if the minimum wage hit £7 or more per hour.
David Illingworth, ICAEW president, said: ‘Most UK businesses will be able to withstand an incremental rise in the adult minimum wage to around £5. A more substantial hike would be likely to hurt a much greater number, putting jobs and profits at risk. The Government is right to strike a careful balance between paying workers a civilised wage and protecting business performance and employment.’
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