Next boss Lord Wolfson has been criticised for criticised for being out of touch after he dismissed the Living Wage campaign, saying that £6.70 per hour is “enough to live on”.
The Tory peer claimed that the £6.70 per hour Next pays its employees, which is just 3% above the minimum wage, was a good amount for many of the company’s staff.
“A living wage for a student is different for someone supporting a family. I think there are a lot of people for whom £6.70 is enough to live on.”
Next’s £6.70 per hour starting pay applies only to workers aged 21 and over.
Wolfson, who is worth an estimated £112m and earns a basic salary of £350 per hour, nearly 100 times more than Next employees, declared that paying staff a living wage, set at £7.85 across the country and £9.15 in London, had no basis in reality and would prevent him from opening future stores.
Critics derided his comments, which came as Next reported that its annual profits were up 12.5% to £782m, as hypocritical.
Rhys Moore, director of the Living Wage Foundation, commented:
“Thousands of Next’s staff need to claim benefits just to make ends meet. Very profitable companies are, in effect, receiving a taxpayer subsidy.”