Page last updated at 13:28 GMT, Sunday, 19 April 2009 14:28 UK

Firms urge minimum wage freeze

Businesses say they need freedom and flexibility to prosper

Business leaders have called for a minimum wage freeze as part of measures to help private industry drive the economy out of recession.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) called for more support in Wednesday's Budget, including cutting small businesses' corporation tax.

"It will be business that drives the economy forward, creating jobs and wealth," said BCC chief David Frost.

He warned that many more companies could fail unless the government acts.

The suggestion that the minimum wage should be frozen is one of a number of ways the body said the chancellor could help "embattled" private industry.

'Freedom and flexibility'

It wants the Budget to include moves to reduce the rate of small companies' corporation tax.

The Budget is an opportunity for the government to prove its commitment to business during this recession
David Frost
BCC director general

It has also called for help to encourage short-time working rather than redundancy.

Mr Frost said: "The chancellor's Budget is an opportunity for the government to prove its commitment to British business during this recession."

He added that unless businesses are given "the freedom and flexibility needed to survive and prosper, many more companies will go bust, and sadly, many more jobs will be lost."

The organisation also suggested the creation of enterprise zones to boost local economies.

Other measures it calls for include the reintroduction of empty property rate relief and a reversal in the planned 0.5% increase for National Insurance contributions in 2011.

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