A spokesperson for the Department of Business Innovation and Skills told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser: “The government is committed to ending exploitation in the labour market, through the creation of a new living wage and by strengthening the current enforcement regimes.”
The minimum wage is currently £6.50 for those aged 21 and over, which will rise to £7.20 for workers aged 25 and over from April next year. Wages will rise again to £9 by 2020.
According to a survey conducted by the Publican’s Morning Advertiser’s sister title M&C Allegra 70% of operators in the UK’s eating and drinking out sector believe the policy will have negative impact on their businesses, despite also believing it may improve staff retention and recruitment.
The PMA’s 2014 pub report found only 5% of businesses were able to pay a wage of £7.65 an hour or more, with controlled wage levels making it more difficult for licensees to control expenditure when margins are tight.
Over the pond, US bars and restaurants are so concerned about employees demanding a hike to the minimum wage that efforts to make robots to replace staff are being stepped up. Several states are planning to introduce a minimum wage of £9.58.