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As the cost of living continues to bite, good news lies ahead for many UK citizens as the National Living Wage rises to £10.42 from 1st April. At 9.7%, this is the largest increase we’ve seen since the rate was introduced in 2016, and a reflection of sustained inflation and significant increases in the cost of energy, food and accommodation.

At the same time, the National Minimum Wage will also see increases of up to 10% across its three tiers:

  • 16–17-year-olds
  • 18-20 year olds
  • 21-22 year olds

Though the extra pennies and pounds will undoubtedly make a big difference to employees around the country who have been struggling to keep pace with the cost of living, April may herald bumpy times ahead for businesses that need to find the money to boost wages whilst remaining profitable.

Small business, big challenge

One survey conducted in November by Novuna Business Finance suggested that nine in ten British small business owners were already concerned about the rising cost of living; facing increases in third-party supplier costs, rent and potential loss in footfall as customers tighten their budgets. The rising National Living Wage adds yet another cost to businesses, and many are concerned about how to absorb these costs and remain operational.

Our Legal Assistance Helpline has already received calls from many small business owners seeking guidance on the legal aspects of managing increases in the cost of staffing. Many of these callers, particularly nursery owners and childminders, know they’ll have pass on these increased costs to their customers, but some want to better understand the law around reducing employees’ hours or in the worst cases, making staff redundant.

Tough times ahead

As we venture into 2023, I predict more challenges ahead for small businesses. Continued inflation and sustained economic turbulence will continue to squeeze businesses already struggling to manage costs. We’re likely to see an increase in calls from policyholders seeking support on managing redundancies, and changes to employee contracts.

Though we can’t provide economic advice on how to run a business, our Legal Assistance Helpline, manned by our legally trained experts, is available 365 days, 24/7, to assist our policyholders navigate the complexities of employment law, along with support on any personal or commercial legal problems, depending on the scheme access.

For further information on the above, or details of our products and services, please contact your Partnerships Manager or email


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