Pret covers NLW by putting prices up

High street coffee chain Pret A Manger is covering the cost of the new national living wage (NLW) by charging customers more for their coffee.

The NLW means that basic pay has risen from £6.70 to £7.20. It came into effect on 1 April and, in response, Pret has put the price of its coffee up.

A latte, cappuccino and a flat white, which all cost £2.15, will now be £2.25. The cost of an Americano rose from £1.75 to £1.85.

The company said in a statement that the change was due “in part” to the increase in labour cost.

A Pret A Manger spokesperson said: “Increasing costs, including those around our ingredients and our people, mean we do need to increase prices from time to time. These are done very rarely and we do our best to keep them minimal.”

Last week, Costa Coffee became one of the few companies in the UK to offer the NLW to workers of all ages, not just those over 25 – at the same time, it also revealed that 55% of its staff were younger than 25.

Elsewhere, John Whittingdale, the Culture Secretary, and Chris Grayling, the Commons Leader, both suggested last week that British workers may lose out, because the higher wages will attract more European workers to the UK and fuel immigration.

In response, David Cameron said: “I think the National Living Wage is a well-deserved pay rise for some of the lowest paid people in our country, and I am very proud to be the Prime Minister who introduced it.”

Last December, UK bosses were urged to better prepare for the NLW and avoid potential legal action by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) as it emerged only 45% of employers had updated their payrolls at the time. 

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