Over 200,000 hospitality jobs could be at risk if the Government imposes the Compulsory Living Wage within the sector, a Greater London Assembly member has said.
GLA Conservative Tony Arbour calculated that the £4b cost to businesses would impact 213,247 jobs throughout the country, ahead of the party's lead question in today's Mayor's Question Time.
He argued that although Londoners needed to be paid a living wage, as it would be an "ideal win-win situation", making the current sums compulsory without addressing other business costs would threaten SMEs and cost the industry billions.
He said: "Forcing firms to sign up to this, especially start-ups and small businesses - such as B&Bs, restaurants and coffee shops - will only hurt them and may even put them out of business."
He added: "We need to think practically about how to get more Londoners on the Living Wage. What we need instead are common-sense measures designed to ease the burden on business and boost pay for employees, such VAT cuts in the hospitality sector."
He also said that tax cuts would allow businesses to pay employees more without the need for price rises and redundancies.
In 2012 (the most recent year with full data), the hospitality sector employed 1,929,000 people and generated £36.544b, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and Labour Market Statistics.