The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has warned that the government must limit next year’s National Minimum Wage to help retailers protect jobs.

The minimum wage increases today to £5.93 from £5.80 per hour, an increase of 2.2%. Independent body The Low Pay Commission (LPC) is at present considering October 2011’s increase, which will be announced next spring.

The BRC has warned that next year’s increase must be no more than 1.7% to help retailers continue to create jobs. Any increase above 1.7% would seriously impede retailers’ ability to maintain and create jobs, said the BRC.

British Retail Consortium director general Stephen Robertson said: “There’s a delicate compromise between higher wages and more jobs. But the best protection for wages is preserving jobs to keep people working.

“Trading conditions are tough. Higher costs, such as next April’s National Insurance increase, will pile on even more pressure. Even a small increase in 2011’s minimum wage could choke off retailers’ vital potential to create new jobs.”