The boss of a 116-year-old smoked salmon business has condemned the government for boosting the minimum wage at a time of “horrendous” cost pressures.
Lance Forman, whose firm H. Forman & Son supplies Waitrose, Ocado and Sainsbury’s, claimed that “no one is going to be better off” because pay rises would be wiped out by inflation.
It comes ahead of today’s Autumn Budget, where Rishi Sunak is expected to raise the minimum wage from £8.91 to £9.50.
Speaking to LBC, Forman said that “everything is being thrown at small businesses”, citing the increase in the minimum wage, national insurance and corporation tax.
He also pointed to soaring electricity prices, and claimed H. Forman’s annual bill was up from £200,000 to £350,000.
“We could employ six people for that,” Forman, a former Brexit Party MEP, said.
He added that the company had been forced to raise prices because “all of our suppliers are putting up prices.”
Dairy supplier Arla recently warned it was being hammered by energy, packaging and labour costs.
Taking aim at the PM’s vision of a “high wage economy”, Forman said: “What we really want to be is a high standards of living economy.
“You can make the cost of living lower and make the wage that you have got go further, and that way we don’t make ourselves globally uncompetitive.
“I believe the government is getting this completely wrong.”
Forman has proven a controversial figure, tweeting in October that the NHS “is killing our country” and had “been on holiday for the last four months”.
He later apologised for the post, written seven months into the pandemic, and said it had been misinterpreted.