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Worcestershire business leaders say too many firms would struggle
BUSINESS leaders in Worcestershire say they are “sceptical” about Labour calls to offer tax breaks for employees paying the Living Wage.
Party leader Ed Miliband wants to offer companies tax relief of £1,000 to encourage more of them to pay staff at least £7.65 an hour.
But the move has been criticised by the county’s Federation of Small Businesses, which says too many firms would struggle.
Ken Wigfield, regional chairman, said: “Employers are still facing tough times.
“Competition with imported goods and online business are significant factors for them, having, in many sectors, direct impact upon their survival and growth.
“To see any further pressure put on employers at this precarious time within our economic recovery will be one step too far for some, leading to business closures, redundancies, reduced hours and simply not taking on additional staff.
“The economy has got to be in a much stronger situation, bringing with it a much increased confidence in the future for our smaller employers, before any such plan should be even considered.”
Earlier this year Worcester City Council started to look at the proposal, but the old Conservative administration dumped it on the grounds it could cost too much cash.
The new Labour-led cabinet has revived the idea, and is expected to approve it within weeks.
Mr Miliband said: “Together we can help lift more people out of poverty with decent pay, raise productivity, and control spending on welfare.”
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