Small firms ask for longer NI holiday


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The Independent Online

The leaders of the UK’s small-businesses have called on the coalition to extend tax breaks for employers, a move which they claim could create 45,000 jobs.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is using the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham to lobby the minister of state Michael Fallon to extend the National Insurance contributions holiday for small employers.

The current scheme – funded by £800m from the Government – gives new businesses outside the South- east and east of England and London a break in paying NI for up to 10 new staff.

But the measure has so far had a limited impact with just 15,000 of the projected 200,000 taking advantage of the scheme since it was set up in June 2010. The scheme is due to be wound up next September but the FSB wants it to be opened up to all businesses and extended until the end of the parliament.

The FSB’s London regional chairman Steve Warwick said: “The contributions holiday is the Government’s flagship policy to boost employment but it hasn’t anywhere reached the levels that were predicted.”

The economy’s difficulties are likely be underlined next week as a slight contraction is expected to be shown in output figures for August.