FSB calls on government to deliver on National Insurance Contributions holiday pledge

Paul Maskall, area lead for East Anglia, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Picture: JULIA HOLLAN

Paul Maskall, area lead for East Anglia, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Picture: JULIA HOLLAND - Credit: Archant

The East of England’s community-minded small firms should be recognised by government for their contribution with a promised tax break, a business lobby group says.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has released new data which shows eight in 10 (79%) of small businesses in the region are actively involved in their community, with one in three (30%) hiring people with a disability or mental health condition. One in four (41%) offer work experience.

Its report, Small Business, Big Heart, is calling on government to make it easier for them to support those who are disadvantaged in the jobs market by delivering on its manifesto promise by offering a one-year National Insurance Contributions (NICs) holiday for small firms employing people in disadvantaged in the jobs market. It also wants targeted Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) refunds and greater support for work experience placements.

MORE – East of England first-time buyer house prices ‘could hit the roof by mid-century’The report reveals the region’s small firms are contributing to local charities or the wider community, with more than one in three (38%) donating their time and a similar proportion (34%) providing skills, wider resources or mentoring to others. Most (78%) employ an older worker, a third (34%) have a member of staff with low levels of educational attainment, and three in 10 (30%) employ at least one person with a known disability or mental health condition.

FSB East Anglia area lead Paul Maskall said: “The contribution of small businesses to our local communities is too often overlooked by policymakers. We’re not just generators of profits and tax: we’re an active force for good in society.

“Those who are disadvantaged are already more likely to find work with a small firm than a big corporation. Back in 2017, the Conservatives promised that – were they elected – they would introduce a one-year NICs holiday for firms that take on those with a disability, mental health condition or who have been out of work for some time.

“We’ve been left asking: when will this promise be delivered? Two years later, it should be prioritised. We look forward to the chancellor outlining exactly how the commitment will be taken forward in the upcoming Spring Statement. With the labour market tightening, EU migration down and skills shortages starting to bite, it’s more vital than ever that this incentive is made available.”