Employers are crying out for a lighter touch

first_imgIt is difficult to imagine a worse time to introduce a rise in employerNational Insurance Contributions. Employers, employees and even customers mayultimately pay the price as it adds yet more pressure to the already strickenbusiness community. The profitability of UK firms has fallen to its lowest level for a decadeand Gordon Brown’s move, which comes into effect this month, could provokefurther transfers of work overseas and more job cuts. The Anglo-Dutchsteelmaker, Corus, is reported to be absorbing £5m of extra costs due to theNIC increase and construction vehicle firm Caterpillar predicts a £2m annualbill. Weak productivity continues to stop any recovery in margins and in manymarkets, firms simply cannot pass on these additional costs to customers. The secretary of state for industry, Patricia Hewitt, is working hard toconvince employers she is listening to their concerns. She is championinginitiatives to lift productivity and last week pledged to help business planahead by limiting the introduction of any new rules to just two days per year.These supportive measures are welcome, but the relationship between businessand the Government is certainly entering a new phase. Employers want lessinterference, and yet the Government seems to be insisting on a ‘deeperpartnership’ with no clarity about what that actually means. Productivity is the key area where the Government can make a difference. Asthis is the CIPD’s HRD week at Olympia, we are reminded of the mountainemployers must climb to boost productivity and competitiveness throughtraining, development and organisational change. Our front-page coverage and feature confirm how tough it is to raisecapabilities when resources are tight. Skills gaps cannot be ignored for long – firms are struggling to meetcustomer service standards, to generate new business and develop new productsbecause some core competencies have not been developed. These volatile times warrant strong and measured management. Employers arecrying out for stability and flexibility and have no appetite for more taxationand further labour market regulation. A lightness of touch from the Governmentwould be the best course of action right now. Employers are crying out for a lighter touchOn 8 Apr 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more