“The short and shallow recession we had hoped for a matter of months ago is now likely to be deeper and longer lasting,” comments John Cridland, CBI deputy director-general.
Unsurprisingly, entrepreneurs are feeling the strain. “The economy is in a mess,” says Pimlico Plumbers founder Charlie Mullins. “The government needs to tackle the problem head on by working with businesses to get unemployed young people back in to work through training and apprenticeship schemes.”
The straight-talking entrepreneur, who employs over 100 plumbers and pulls in sales of £15m a year, says he’d like to see National Insurance cut for companies who take on trainees. “Young people who are in training should be exempt from tax,” he says. “Figures for unemployment would drop and a highly skilled workforce would be created ready for when the recession finally resides.”
Jonny Breeze, MD of £602k-turnover Yellow Cat Recruitment, says the dismal economic forecasts have sparked a knee-jerk reaction from small businesses: “Panic breeds panic so firms are really tightening their belts at the moment and not taking any chances. But once this initial panic subsides, many businesses will realise the potential for growth coming through the recession.”
Like Mullins, Breeze reckons the government needs to step up its game: “In the short term, there definitely needs to be more aid for businesses from the government to prevent a recruitment freeze, which will affect so many young people.”