While acknowledging the important role the minimum wage has played, David Frost, director general of the BCC, argued that holding the current rates during the recession would help stave off further job losses.
Mr Frost said: “We are fully supportive of the national minimum wage, and over the last decade of economic growth it has been right to see it increase. However, we are now in a deep recession and business cash-flow is being hit. We know this because unemployment is rising and looks set to reach 3.2 million next year. Freezing the minimum wage until the economy recovers will provide much needed breathing space for hard-pressed employers and will help save jobs.”