Buzz People

Pay rise plans: Is the minimum wage enough to live on?

Money is everywhere in the amusement arcades on Southend's seafront: being fed into slot machines, paid out in jackpots, or hanging over the edge of penny fall games.
When running a business like this, the money that really matters is staff wages. Pay is the dominant cost and, with a host of employees on the minimum wage, it is a bill that has been rising.
"There has been quite a dramatic increase [in the minimum wage] in recent years. At peak times, we can absorb the costs but it stretches us even thinner for the rest of the time," says John Remblance, manager at Star Amusements.
"The hard season is getting even harder."
The arcades run by this family firm are open every day except Christmas Day. Further rises in the minimum or National Living Wage promised by all the major political parties could make this a more expensive and therefore more seasonal business, he says.
When the tourists and day-trippers leave, they may need to close their doors.
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