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19 October 2016

Welcome rise in employment, but more support needed

The latest UK jobs figures show employment is up by 106,000 jobs since the last quarter and the unemployment rate remains stable at 4.9%. Compared to last year, the number of self-employed people has increased by 273,000 – representing over 15% of all people in work.

The number of employees increased to 296,000 since last year. This mirrors the findings of the latest FSB Small Business Index, which showed small businesses have started to take on new staff, with a net balance of 7% of small firms report increasing headcount this quarter. The SBI also, however, showed that Labour costs remain the most cited (41.7%) reason for changing business costs.

Mike Cherry, National Chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“The rise in employment is welcome, reflecting FSB’s research showing small businesses were starting to increasing headcount in the last quarter.

“As more people enter the Labour market and look for work, it will be more important than ever for the Government to support small businesses to keep creating jobs.

“Small businesses are resilient but face significant challenges from faltering levels of confidence and higher costs from policy changes like the National Living Wage. As the Autumn Statement approaches, it is crucial the Government doesn’t place extra burdens on business, prioritises long-term investment, enterprise policy and innovation, and reaffirms the commitment to permanently increase business rate relief.

“Increasing levels of self-employment should be celebrated for the freedom and flexibility it provides to millions of people. But changes in how people work means there must be changes in how they’re supported as well. For that reason we’ve welcomed the recently announced Taylor review into modern employment practices, and will continue to argue for the support the UK’s self-employed need. This includes access to products like pensions, mortgages and income protection, and addressing the discrepancies between the self-employed and employees in the social security system, including on maternity pay.”