28 August 2017
Law changes bring higher costs for 80% of businesses
The bottom lines of four in five businesses are being put to the test by changes in employment legislation, a survey suggests.
According to the annual workforce survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), pensions auto-enrolment, living wage increases and the Apprenticeship Levy are contributing to higher costs for companies that employ staff.
Business leaders are urging the Government to avoid "burdening" firms with new upfront costs or taxes, as the UK's economic landscape continues to battle uncertainty.
Jane Gratton, head of business environment and skills at the BCC, said: "Businesses are under increasing pressure from the burden of employment costs, and this will influence the choices they make and outcomes for employees.
"Higher employment costs impact on the bottom line and reduce the resources available to invest in the business and its people."
British businesses were consulted on their financial positions during the last two weeks of July this year. Three quarters of the 1,461 firms polled said auto-enrolment of pensions, that came into force in April 2017, has bumped up their overall costs.
Additionally, half say the increase to the National Living Wage has added to costs.
Firms are facing a challenging time in an increasingly competitive market, says David Williams, director of corporate engagement at Middlesex University London.
As a partner in the survey, Mr Williams says the UK's productivity needs to be boosted to enable Britain to compete globally after leaving the EU.
"It is important when making difficult choices, the development, upskilling and retention of the workforce is high on the list of investment priorities and that businesses get the support they need to do this," he added.