| 6.9°C Belfast

Recruiting agency chief backs Tory tax claim

A Belfast firm has waded into the row that has dominated the opening days of the election campaign by coming out in support of Tory plans to curb a tax hike.

James Kilbane, chairman of Grafton Recruitment, is among more than 80 business leaders that backed David Cameron’s pledge to block the planned rise in National Insurance.

He is one of the latest wave of prominent company bosses who agree with Tory claims that the one per cent rise in contributions, set to come in next year, amounts to a jobs tax.

Grafton Recruitment was established in 1982 and now has 72 offices in 18 countries.

Mr Kilbane told the Belfast Telegraph: “As an employer of in excess of 4,000 temporary workers in the Province, any additional charges bring added burdens on the cost to employers using our workers and would bring a distinct disadvantage to the recruitment sector and thereby a disincentive to create further employment opportunities.

“That, coupled with other regulatory requirements that our sector will face in early 2011, poses a considerable risk and burden to our sector.”

Gordon Brown has accused the Tories of drawing up their proposals to scrap the rise on the back of an envelope. He suggested that the business leaders who have come out in favour of the Tory plan did not realise that they would have to find £27bn in efficiency savings this year to make it work.

The Prime Minister was accused by Marks & Spencer boss Sir Stuart Rose of insulting the intelligence of business leaders over his charge that they had been ‘deceived’ by the Conservatives over their proposals.

Entrepreneur James Caan, star of television hit Dragons Den, says he believes the higher payments would not deter employers from taking on the staff they need.

Yesterday the Tories’ adviser Sir Peter Gershon disclosed that his proposed efficiency savings — the way the party is planning to meet the shortfall in funding scrapping the NI increase would leave — involves slashing £2bn from the public sector payroll, which experts estimate could involve a reduction of 20,000 to 40,000 jobs.

Belfast Telegraph