Small firms: Do not make living wage obligatory

Tim Wallace
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SMALL firms’ costs must be brought down if the economy is to recover and employment is to rise, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said today, launching a new campaign to pressure candidates in next year’s general election to back SMEs.

The group wants a £2,000 tax cut for firms hiring more workers, as well as a new curriculum to make schools more workplace-oriented.

And it warned the main political parties against forcing government contractors to pay the living wage, arguing this could push some low-paid staff out of work.

“The Low Pay Commission must remain an independent body free from partisan political influence,” the FSB said in its manifesto, warning against politicians who promise to hike the minimum wage.

And the group wants to keep “the Living Wage as an aspirational, voluntary goal and not a requirement in public procurement contracts, which could harm competition and value for money for the taxpayer.”

The business group is launching a US-style social media campaign for candidates in the election to publicly back its goals and so receive support from it and its members.

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