Rogate brewery boss feeling flat about wage plans

A brewery boss from Nyewood, near Rogate, is leading an attack on government plans to force employers to pay for the loss of the 10p income tax rate by increasing the national minimum wage.

Carola Brown, owner of Ballards Brewery and a member of the Forum of Private Business, said a sharp increase in the minimum wage would heap further difficulties on her already-beleaguered business.

"I don't see why the burden should fall on the employer. It would make things extremely difficult for my business which is facing a tough time as it is," Mrs Brown said.

"The cost of grain has gone up by a third, hops has more than doubled and, in the Budget, duty was put up by 4p on a pint."

She declared: "The government has completely messed things up all round and this will be another disaster for small businesses."

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, and Enterprise Secretary John Hutton have asked the Low Pay Commission to consider changes to the minimum wage in order to compensate lower-paid workers, who could struggle following the removal of the 10p rate.