The government has been urged to take a "thoughtful approach" to introducing its new National Living Wage.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced in this week's Budget that over-25s are to receive a salary of at least £7.20 an hour from April, which will go up to £9 an hour by 2020.

However, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has insisted the government must go about implementing the policy carefully.

Indeed, ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said it must take into account factors other than the headline hourly rate, such as workers' take-home pay, total earnings and benefits such as pensions.

She also called on the government to be sensitive with its timetable for introduction, as wage rounds are currently planned for next spring.

While the National Living Wage will result in higher wage bills for firms in the hospitality sector, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) believes this will be offset by other measures unveiled in this week's Budget.

For instance, it said cutting Corporation Tax to 19 per cent in 2017 and 18 per cent in 2020 is a "very welcome" measure for beer and pub businesses.

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the BBPA, also singled out reductions in the cost of Employers National Insurance and the increase in the Annual Investment Allowance as other positive developments.

She pointed out that while measures such as the Living Wage and reductions in tax credits will have a "knock-on effect on the cost of employment for pubs", the tax cuts unveiled by Mr Osborne are a "welcome and necessary balancing measure".

Ms Simmonds added that the BBPA will be "looking to see that the government continues to support brewing and pubs in other parts of the tax system, such as through future action on business rates and further cuts in beer duty, which are a big help to pubs".