We’re not going on an NI holiday

THE PUBLICISING of the National Insurance holiday scheme by HMRC today is perhaps not surprising. As one of the headline policies from George Osborne’s first Budget, it was expected to help boost new businesses.

Unfortunately, to say it didn’t do this is an understatement. The original projections for the policy expected 132,000 businesses to take up the incentive. They didn’t quite achieve this. In fact, only 6,000 have applied for the scheme.

The scope of the scheme – which can only be taken up in certain regions in the country – seems to be one of the culprits for the poor take-up. There is an argument that if the government was serious about the scheme, it would have been a UK wide initiative.

But there may be a broader reason than this. The 144,000 businesses that are receiving letters from HMRC are eligible for the scheme. But there is a big difference between being eligible for the scheme and actually taking the plunge and hiring an employee. It is wishful thinking on the part of the government that a £5,000 relief will be the deciding factor for businesses making this decision. A few thousand letters will not change this fact.

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