The Blackpool-headquartered Federation of Small Businesses is calling on the Chancellor to deliver a manifesto pledge to incentivise employers that take on the long-term unemployed, ex-offenders and those with a disability as part of its Autumn Budget submission.
The current Conservative Manifesto commits to providing a one-year National Insurance Holiday for firms that hire those furthest from the labour market, including individuals with long-term mental health conditions and former armed service personnel. The pledge is yet to be enacted by Parliament.
Only half of disabled job applicants are invited for interview, according to the charity Scope.
Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, said:“Having hired an ex-offender who is now a crucial part of my team, I’ve seen first-hand the importance of dismissing prejudices about harder to reach groups.
"People who are disadvantaged when it comes to finding work often feel as though the system has given up on them. Meanwhile, firms are not sufficiently encouraged to provide them with job opportunities.
“That’s why we need to see this vital National Insurance Holiday pledge delivered at the Budget. Small firms are already disproportionately successful in helping individuals that are struggling to secure work, with around nine in ten unemployed people finding opportunities through self-employment or in a small business. But there’s more work to be done.
“Given we’re close to full employment, we need to start extending lifelines to disadvantaged groups.
"As things stand, too many people who could be making a fantastic contribution to our business community are outside the labour market. Enacting this pledge will help unleash their potential.”