Business is more supportive of the minimum wage hike than you might expect
January 15th, 2024, Stephan Shakespeare

Business is more supportive of the minimum wage hike than you might expect

Currys boss Alex Baldock recently came out swinging against the government’s decision to increase the legal minimum wage to £11.44 an hour – claiming that it demonstrated a lack of understanding and care for the retail industry. Similarly, Hollywood Bowl Chief Executive Stephen Burns has complained about the stress the “unexpected hit” has placed on the organisation, while UKHospitality’s Kate Nicholls expressed concern that the increase would have “significant knock-on impacts on costs.” 

But research from YouGov’s B2B survey can reveal that the business community is mostly in favour of the hike. Overall, more than 7 in 10 (73%) senior decision makers at British businesses endorse the move to raise the minimum wage from £10.42 to £11.44, while a quarter (25%) say it’s the wrong idea for the present time. That said, this positivity varies according to organisational size. 

Broadly, the bigger the business, the more likely decision-makers are to support the increase. Large organisations with over 250 employees are most likely to endorse the move, with some eight in ten saying it’s a good idea (80% vs. 16%) and seven in ten medium-sized businesses that employ 50–249 employees say the same (71% vs. 27%). Small (65% vs. 29%) and micro businesses (68% vs. 26%) are less likely to be on board with the idea, but they are still generally supportive. 

In fact, the minimum wage rise is broadly as popular as measures such as full expensing (which 74% consider a good idea), freezing the small business multiplier (71%) and extending the discount on business rates for retail, hospitality and leisure companies (71%). We can’t speak to the government’s intentions with this measure, and neither can we say for sure what the impact of the minimum wage increase will be on UK businesses. But if concerns around the rise have grabbed headlines, they don’t necessarily reflect the (mostly supportive) views of the wider business community.  

This article originally appeared in City A.M.