HEREFORDSHIRE & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce is due to submit a detailed report to the government as part of the Low Pay Commission consultation.

The Low Pay Commission (LPC) is the independent body that advises the government on the level of the minimum wage.

In October 2019, the LPC will produce a report with a set of recommendations regarding the new National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates which will apply from April 2020.

During quarter 4 of 2018, the Chamber consulted over 4,000 businesses to formulate the 2019 Policy strategy and campaign schedule, highlighting the key priorities for businesses in the region.

Skills and reducing the costs of doing business were two key topics identified as main concerns, and the Chamber has worked to support businesses in this area, such as the Salary and Benefits benchmarking report, the largest of its kind in the two counties.

Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce recently held a Skills Roundtable with the Department for Education and the Insitute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education to ensure businesses are involved in the formulation of policy regarding skills and to ensure the future workforce is appropriately skilled for the needs of businesses.

According to the Chamber's research, staff recruitment and retention are two other longstanding issues that have posed challenges for businesses across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

H&W Chamber has been informed by companies that the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage increases have squashed their bottom line, and that they have felt compelled to maintain the differentials between entry level jobs and positions of seniority.

Businesses are now voicing concerns that they cannot maintain these differentials and there may be something of a levelling out across wages.

The Chamber would now like to encourage local businesses to submit their views and evidence to become part of the detailed report to government for the LPC recommendations.

Businesses which would like to contribute to the report can go online to the Chamber of Commerce's website and have their say.