NIC holiday figures still short of target

THE NUMBER of businesses taking up the National Insurance holiday scheme has picked up but still falls way below the Treasury’s original estimates.

The scheme, which allows new businesses to receive relief on National Insurance contributions for new employees in their first 12 months, was a key part of chancellor George Osborne’s (pictured) first Budget in 2010.

It was originally expected to be taken up by 132,000 businesses a year but the latest figures show that only 5,137 successful applications were made since September 2010, as well as 163 unsuccessful applications.

Take-up improved in May, with 828 successful applications compared with 552 in April, 679 in March and 518 in February; that number, though, decreased in June to 551.

Exchequer secretary to the Treasury David Gauke said in a parliamentary answer on 18 July: “Earlier this year, HMRC commissioned some research into the initial operation of the scheme.

“This suggests that awareness among potentially eligible employers was lower than expected but the scheme has a positive influence on the prospects for taking on staff and the future growth of businesses for many of the businesses interviewed. Full results of the survey will be published shortly.”

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