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'A huge amount of pressure on businesses'


Chris Jones, Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group, responds to the National Living Wage that comes into force today:

‘There is potentially much to gain from Britain getting a pay rise, but what will happen to our economy as a result is still unclear. Right now, businesses have so many policies hitting them at once, not only the new living wage, but also pension auto-enrolment and the upcoming apprenticeship levy. While these measures aim to support individuals and boost productivity, they put a huge amount of pressure on businesses’ costs. The businesses that will navigate these changes most effectively are those that shape their responses as part of a holistic talent and recruitment strategy. Under-25s being excluded from the new living wage combined with the introduction of the new apprenticeship levy makes me concerned that apprenticeships could be seen as an opportunity for cheap labour, instead of as a way to develop the vital skills businesses need to be productive. That would be short-sighted and harm our long-term economic prospects.’