Both the British Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses have said the measure would only increase the burden of red tape on small and medium-sized firms.
A spokesman at the BCC, which last week launched its own ‘Cut Red Tape’ campaign, said: ‘This would clearly put an extra burden on the employer’s pay roll.
‘There’s already substantial burden from administering income tax, national insurance, statutory sick and maternity pay, which has already been increased by the introduction of working families tax credit.’
An FSB spokesman reacted with shock that the proposed changes might mean business people appearing before the PAC and described the prospect as ‘daunting’.
Proposals to allow the NAO automatic right of access come as an amendment to the Government Resources and Accounting Bill currently going through parliament which would bring commercial accounting practices to government departments and bodies.
Brought by the influential Public Accounts Committee, the amendments are intended to allow the NAO to follow public money wherever it goes.
The amendments were this week defeated by the government in a House of Commons vote but many inside parliament believe the amendments will return once the Bill reaches the Lords.
PAC chairman David Davis told a standing committee debate the measure was needed to ‘assure parliament that employers are properly administering the new tax credits’.
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