The Mail on Sunday

Rising costs deter firms from hiring


RISING employment costs, such as National Insurance payments, are as big a deterrent to small business owners taking on more staff as the recession.

In its latest monthly economy watch report, the Forum of Private Business found that 45 per cent of business owners said the cost of employment was a bar to recruitmen­t – as many as those blaming the economic climate.

Online tour operator Low Cost Travel is recruiting 50 staff in India instead of Britain. Director Lawrence Hunt said that NI contributi­ons cost the company £900 a year for every worker it employs.

A quarter of bosses cited the complexity of employment law as another deterrent to hiring more staff.

Shadow Chancellor George Osborne last week pledged to cancel the increase of 1p in the pound on NI for those earning less than £45,000 if the Tories gain power.

The move, which would benefit both employees and bosses, was publicly supported by easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and Sir Stuart Rose, executive chairman of Marks & Spencer.

Meanwhile the public sector jobs boom shows no sign of abating, the latest jobs report, sponsored by accountant KPMG, is expected to show on Wednesday, with more than six million on the State payroll.

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