MPs attacked George Osborne’s National Living Wage scheme in Parliament last night, highlighting the attempts of UK businesses, including large retailers, to mitigate the enforced pay increases by cutting staff benefits.

Ginsters, B&Q, Morrisons, Waitrose, Caffe Nero and Eat were all accused of cutting staff perks to help cover the hike in basic salaries.

Labour MP Joan Ryan said businesses which "deliberately circumvent" the living wage should be fined. She focused on B&Q, which has cut staff pay for those working Sundays and bank holidays, saying: "It's clearly totally wrong that any company should be cutting wages on the back of the living wage. If a company as well known and big as B&Q can do it, everyone can."

Tory MP Philip Davies commented: “The whole concept of a National Living Wage is an intellectual nonsense. The fact is the amount of money people need to earn to cover their living depends on all sorts of different factors. The idea that there is one National Living Wage that can apply to everybody in the whole country irrespective of their personal circumstances is a nonsense.”

He warned that the scheme would inevitably lead to job cuts, adding: "If you put up the cost of employment you will find less people employed. That' s just an economic fact."