Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: “This manifesto has some positive policy priorities such as big increases in investment in infrastructure, skills and pledging not to increase National Insurance contributions for our members.
“However, we have real concerns over Labour’s proposal to increase Corporation Tax, and indeed it is unclear if this hike also includes small businesses. The business community in Northern Ireland wants a local 12.5% Corporation Tax rate – the Labour Party wants to go in the opposite direction.
“Their proposals to introduce a £10 minimum wage are a real cause for concern for our members, who are already struggling with the existing National Living Wage. A recent survey of our members showed that 67% of them are reducing staff hours and over 51% are expecting to reduce staff numbers to afford the Living Wage.
“A £10 minimum wage is unaffordable for many of our members and would be a threat to staff hours and jobs. Wage rates should be set independently by the Low Pay Commission and should not be used as a political bargaining chip.”