George Osborne's National Living Wage will make it harder to hire, say 77 per cent of UK's small and medium-sized businesses

 
Madeline Ratcliffe
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The Chancellor George Osborne Prepares To Give His Budget To Parliament
Iain Duncan Smith was a big fan of Osbourne's living wage, UK small business are less impressed (Source: Getty)

More than two-thirds of small businesses in the UK say the introduction of the living wage will impact their ability to hire.

Britain’s SMEs say they are already struggling to find staff, and 77 per cent fear the living wage will make it harder, according to research from job site Indeed.

The National Living Wage was the flagship policy in George Osborne’s Summer Budget; it will be introduced in April 2016 at £7.20 an hour, rising to £9 by 2020.

London-based SMEs seem to be more confident, with 20 per cent saying they expect to hire more than five new staff over the next three months, well above the national average or 14 per cent

Bill Richards, UK managing director at Indeed said:

SMEs have [fewer] resources for recruiting, making it increasingly difficult to compete with larger companies for the best candidates. With staff costs rising, SMEs will need to find new efficiencies to maintain profit margins and ensure that they are still able to appeal to the most talented recruits.

The research also points to a growing trend for flexible working hours: 84 per cent of SMEs aid they depend on freelance and part-time staff, and 39 per cent said offering flexible hours helped them to attract more talented employees.

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