The Government’s promise to raise the national minimum wage would lead to wide-scale job losses, organisations representing thousands of small businesses employing low-paid workers in hotels, restaurants and shops have warned. Even though the employment rate has risen from 73.8% to 74.6% since the minimum wage was introduced in April 1999, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research warned it would be a mistake to think that just because unemployment had not risen the minimum wage had had no effect. It said its research had indicated that the New Deal to raise employment for young people had promoted employment but the minimum wage had reduced it. So employment rates were likely to have been higher if the minimum wage had not been introduced. Financial Times (Money & Business) 12/02/05 page 4