Small businesses still 'staring down the barrel' in Northamptonshire despite government lifting Plan B restrictions

Federation plea for government re-think over national insurance hike

By Kevin Nicholls
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 10:33 am

Small businesses in Northamptonshire say they are still 'staring down the barrel' despite the government scrapping Plan B restrictions.

Boris Johnson confirmed on Wednesday that advice for people to work from home would be dropped immediately while mandatory face coverings in public places and Covid passports would go from Thursday (January 26).

The Federation of Small Businesses local spokesperson Jennifer Thomas said: “After two years of chopping and changing, small businesses will be hoping that this marks the beginning of a final winding down of trading restrictions."

Northamptonshire's small businesses say they face a triple whammy of pressures following Rishi Sunak's national insurance hike

But she called on the government to get behind small businesses as they face a triple whammy of pressures in the coming months.

Ms Thomas added: “Small firms and sole traders stand ready to spur our economic recovery from this recession as they did the last.

"After new import checks took effect this month, however, they are now staring down the barrel of a jobs tax hike, a dividend taxation increase and business rates bills landing in April.

“The Government should be looking at policies that will empower small businesses and start-ups to get our economy firing on all cylinders again.

"In an environment where inflation is surging and the labour market is exceptionally tight, hiking an indiscriminate tax on job creation is not one of them.

“We would now urge everyone across Northamptonshire to get behind small firms — be that on a commute, whilst working from home, online, or in-person — as they work night and day to recover from another incredibly stressful festive season.

“Equally, it’s important to respect the house rules that each individual small firm has implemented to keep its customers and staff safe. Many have invested thousands in making premises more secure."

The FSB has estimated the introduction of a 1.25 percent increase in national insurance contributions for employers, sole traders and employees in April — announced by Chancellor Rishi SUnak last autumn — could see 50,000 people lose their jobs.

Making his announcement in Parliament, Mr Johnson said its data showed that infections levels were falling in England.

He also said hospital admissions had stabilised and scientists believed 'it is likely that the Omicron wave has now peaked nationally.'