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Ex-Sainsbury's boss warns living wage 'will harm business’

The government’s national living wage will lead to fewer jobs as employers seek to make their workforces more productive, former Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King has warned.

The government hopes that, by raising the national living wage of £7.20 for over 25s from April 2016, productivity will be improved.

But King told BBC Radio 4 series The New Workplace: “You can’t talk about productivity without recognising that one of the consequences of productivity is less people producing the same output.

“Companies will invest in more productivity and as a consequence there will be [fewer] jobs.”

King, who led Sainsbury’s for 10 years until July 2014, said he was in favour of a minimum wage, but found it odd the living wage applied only to those aged 25 and over.

His comments came days after Sainsbury’s, which is now led by Mike Coupe, revealed plans to increase the standard rate of pay for its 137,000 shop floor staff by 4% to £7.36 an hour from this week.

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