Lancashire firms hit by rising employment costs

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Around four in every five businesses have seen their costs increase this year through changes in employment legislation, according to a survey released today by the British Chambers of Commerce.

BCC’s annual workforce survey of over 1,400 businesses and held in partnership with Middlesex University, reveals that pensions auto-enrolment, the National Living Wage and the Apprenticeship Levy have increased the cost base of businesses.

Today Lancashire business chiefs urged Government to impose no more costs or taxes on firms for the forseeable future.

The rise in the National Living Wage (NLW) in April of this year has increased employment costs for one-in-two companies in the UK.

There appears to be a North/South divide, with firms in the North of England (55 per cent) and the Midlands (51 per cent) more likely to be impacted by the National Living Wage than firms in the South (43 per cent).

North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce Chamber Policy Manager Alan Welsh said: “In recent months, businesses have had to deal with a number of additional employment costs all of which have an impact on their bottom line.

“Difficult choices have to be made on how to absorb these costs, with many firms looking to limit pay increases or cut employee benefits rather than increase prices.

“Employment is just one element of the high upfront cost of doing business in the UK. It is the cumulative impact of all of these changes, and the pace at which they are being introduced, that causes the greatest concern. “These additional costs, coupled with increasing raw material prices and uncertainty around Brexit, are having a significant impact on investment intentions and future growth. The government must ensure that there are no upfront further costs or taxes on businesses and entrepreneurs for the remainder of this parliament.”