RAPID RESPONSES

Osborne’s speech

George Osborne’s announcement that he will focus on supporting small businesses is clearly good news, but recent research carried out by RSM Tenon shows that nearly a quarter of all entrepreneurs in the south say that the coalition government has had a negative impact on their business.

The chancellor says that he recognises the importance of SMEs to the UK economy, but there is still a great deal of work to be done if he wants to convince them that they are at the forefront of the government’s agenda. Surely now is the time for him to reward entrepreneurs by offering them incentives such as reduced tax rates, which aid growth.

Peter Musgrave, RSM Tenon

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Efforts to reduce employment litigation are welcome but it’s questionable whether the measures that the chancellor announced today will have their desired effect. When the qualifying period for an unfair dismissal claim was last set at two years, employees used alternative claims for which there were no qualifying periods. This often resulted in disingenuous discrimination claims which are invariably more difficult to defend. So while raising the qualifying periods will reduce the number of pure unfair dismissal claims, different types of claims may take their place.

On the introduction of fees, we await the detail but the risk of costs will do little to deter claimants if the tribunals do not take a robust approach to exercising their power and awarding costs.

Stephen Gummer, PwC Legal