Small businesses need employment incentives

Small businesses need incentives to create and uphold jobs, or more cuts will be made, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has claimed.

The news comes ahead of the latest round of employment statistics that are due out tomorrow, and are likely to show a further rise in those out of work.

The FSB's own research has shown that 6.5 per cent of small firms are planning to lay off workers in the first three months of 2012, which is the highest level since the survey began.

But the FSB believes that providing small firms with incentives to create and maintain jobs could help, and that the Government should 'think small first', when it responds to the Modern Workplaces consultation.

The Modern Workplaces consultation focusses around flexible parental leave, flexible working, and equal pay. But the FSB believes that some of the proposals could harm small businesses.

As a result, the FSB is calling on the Government to delay maternity and paternity leave reform and to exempt micro firms from the extension of the right to request flexible working for all.

The Government must also act on the policies and initiatives that have already been announced such as those in the Autumn Statement in order to boost small business confidence and help them to invest and grow during 2012.

Commenting, John Walker, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said: "The beginning of 2012 is beginning to look bleak with confidence incredibly low and businesses looking to shed staff. However, things do not need to be so negative. If the Government makes the right choices and puts action into words we can turn this around. The Government has a good chance to make a real difference to the livelihoods of small firms when it reports on the Modern Workplaces consultation. Tinkering and increasing existing employment laws will only serve to worsen this situation. But by putting simple measures in place, such as excluding micro firms from the right to request flexible working for all, will help free businesses from the shackle of red tape so they can grow, innovate and take on new staff."