Gifts Today magazine

Tesco backs George Osborne's national living wage

Tesco is “supportive” of the government’s plans for a national living wage, but pointed to the benefits it already offers staff.

In Wednesday’s Budget, Chancellor George Osborne announced that the mandatory minimum wage will increase to £7.20 an hour next April for over-25s, rising to £9 an hour by 2020, reports Retail Week.

Analysts warned the jump in wage bills could be a major challenge for retailers. The Association of Convenience Stores argued it will have a “devastating” impact on small shops.

However Tesco has said it supports the proposal, while its main rivals have failed to give an explicit view on the rate.

In a statement, Tesco said: “We know it is important to reward colleagues well, and that’s why we pay one of the highest hourly [rates].”

“But we firmly believe in offering colleagues a total reward package and our benefits include a 10% colleague discount, shares scheme and pension, which we know they really value.

“That said, in line with our approach of offering sector-leading pay and a generous benefit package to all colleagues, we are supportive of the introduction of the national living wage.”

At its AGM last month, Tesco’s bosses faced a barrage of questions over the issue of a living wage. Chairman John Allan told shareholders at the meeting: “We’ve heard a lot of people talk about living wage today and we would have to be deaf in both ears not to have picked up that message.”

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