Revamp for scheme to close North South gap

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A STRUGGLING Government scheme aimed at encouraging entrepreneurs to create jobs to tackle the North-South divide could be revamped in the March budget.

David Cameron has admitted that the National Insurance contributions holiday – introduced for new businesses outside London and the south-east in September 2010, has failed to generate the jobs growth anticipated.

The Chancellor George Osborne yesterday told the Yorkshire Post that the region had among the highest numbers of businesses taking advantage of the scheme, but the complicated regulations and registration process could be streamlined to make it easier.

The initiative allows new firms to save up to £50,000 in contributions for their first 10 employees and was unveiled by Mr Osborne in his first Budget.

“We are always looking for ways to help small businesses and create jobs,” he said. “Obviously we have the budget in March and I do not want to say what’s going to be in the budget yet.

“However the holiday has created 14,000 jobs, that’s good news but I want to see more jobs created and the budget in March will be an opportunity to help increase job growth in Yorkshire.”

Skipton and Ripon MP Julian Smith said he would be campaigning to put pressure on the Government to change the regulations.

“Clearly it is positive that Yorkshire has one of the highest take ups of this scheme in the country,” he said. “But I would like registration for the scheme to be automatic, rather than something you have to sign up to, that may create some issues around EU rules but that could straightened out.

“This is something that can create jobs in the region, which is particularly important in my constituency where small businesses play such a vital role.”

The latest figures revealed 10,170 companies had successfully applied to the scheme, including 1,290 in Yorkshire.