The boss of builders merchant chain Jewson is one of the latest signatories to the open letter to the Government, attacking the forthcoming increase in National Insurance.
Jewson chief executive Peter Hindle MBE said: “I have expressed my opposition to the proposed rise in employers’ national insurance contribution not because of any political affiliation but because it is the right thing to do for the business, our staff and our shareholders.”
Other construction industry names are Bill Bolsover, chief executive of Aggregate Industries, Sir Jonh Bamford, head of JCB, Ian Cheshire, Chief Executive, Kingfisher plc. They join business leaders from a wide variety of sectors, from food retailing (Sainsbury’s Justin King) and home furnishings (Carpetright’s Lord Harris of Peckham) to brewing (Alan Parker Chief Executive, Whitbread Plc) and fashion (Sir Stuart Rose, chairman of Marks and Spencer). Other companies represented include Corus the steelmakers, Northern Foods, easyJet, Travelodge, LK Bennett, Hornby and Ocado.
The letter expresses grave misgivings about the rise in National Insurance, concluding: “As businessmen we know that stopping the national insurance rise will protect jobs and support the recovery. Cutting government waste won’t endanger the recovery – but putting up national insurance will.”
The rest of the letter reads: “Between us we run some of Britain’s largest companies and employ over half a million people. We are responsible for ensuring that our businesses and our employees come through the recession in good shape.
“The Government’s proposal to increase national insurance, placing an additional tax on jobs, comes at exactly the wrong time in the economic cycle. In a personal capacity, we welcome George Osborne’s plan to stop the proposed increase in national insurance by cutting Government waste. In the last two years, businesses across the country have cut their costs without undermining the service they provide to their customers. It is time for the Government to do the same.
“Few would argue that the state cannot improve. In the last few years, the private sector has improved its productivity by around 20 per cent, while productivity in the public sector has fallen by three per cent. Savings can be made by removing the blizzard of irrelevant objectives, restrictive working practices, arcane procurement rules and Whitehall interference. Mr Osborne’s announcement marks the beginning of this debate. As taxpayers we would welcome more efficiency in government.”