Calls for bolder measures in Budget to allow SMEs to start hiring

With business confidence rapidly falling across the Eurozone countries, there is a high risk of seeing the UK’s GDP growth stall in the fourth quarter, with only sluggish growth in 2012 while overall unemployment looks set to rise despite the growth ambitions of Britain’s backbone of small and medium sized businesses.
Shalini Khemka, CEO of the London Entrepreneurial Exchange,which boasts Sir Richard Branson as a board member, commented: “We welcome the CBI’s initiative for a system of Young Britain Credits worth up to £1500 for firms taking on an unemployed person aged 16 to 24.
This chimes in with the growth ambitions of the majority of Britain’s hard-working SMEs to grow – a London Entrepreneurial Exchange survey of 250 of its members this month revealed that seven out of ten firms would be hiring next year but feel hamstrung by rates of National Insurance.
We applaud any system of reward that helps businesses pay for a National Insurance system which risks fast becoming a tax on jobs creation.
Offered the choice between a cut in VAT next year to 17.5%, or a cut in National Insurance, more than half of our SME members surveyed want a cut in NI.
They feel penalised for their efforts to grow, generate wealth and create employment – all of which must be beneficial overall for the Treasury. Taxation cannot be a barrier to growth.
The London Entrepreneurial Exchange therefore also welcome calls to freeze youth rates of the national minimum wage as Britain should not have the young priced out of the jobs market.
Today’s turmoil presents a real opportunity to make Britain competitive with its European neighbours, ensuring that this country keeps unemployment under control whilst keeping open the opportunity for those starting out on the jobs ladder.”