SGF identifies real impact of rising staff costs

SGF: Cross party meeting at Scottish Parliament. Photograph by Mike Wilkinson....20/9/16 Copyright photograph by Mike Wilkinson. No reproduction or archiving of this image without consent from Mike Wilkinson and payment to him. Contact Mike on 07768 393673 [email protected]

New figures released from the Scottish Grocers Federation (SGF) have revealed the impact of rising staff costs on the independent convenience sector.

Since its introduction, 500,000 workers across the UK have been affected by rises to the national living wage.

The headline living wage figure (£7.50) has knock-on impacts and data produced through SGF’s partnership with the Institute for Retail Studies at the University of Stirling shows that the real hourly cost of employment, including additional costs such as pensions and employers national insurance, is £9.66.

This knock-on impact of the national living wage has been made worse by the large numbers of staff employed in the sector and age profile of staff. SGF’s Scottish Local Shop Report shows that 78% of staff are in the age group affected by the national living wage. The real hourly cost of employment is 29% higher than the current national living wage rate of £7.50 per hour for staff over the age of 24.

The data was gathered from a sample of retailers across Scotland and analysed by the Institute for Retail Studies of the University of Stirling. Professor Leigh Sparks of the University of Stirling said: “Rises in national minimum wage levels have knock-on impacts on the staff costs of almost 30%. The true cost of employment is being underestimated.”

Pete Cheema, SGF Chief Executive said: “Shop owners themselves are having to work longer; with 21% working more than 70 hours per week. We need the UK government to abandon the politically set target for increases in the national living wage. if, as expected, the national living wage rises to £7.90 next year, our members will face a real cost per hour of £10.17, this is not sustainable.”

SGF has sent its data directly to the Low Pay Commission for inclusion in its report and recommendations to the Prime Minister.