a pound imageApril 13 2018

Changes to the minimum employer contribution to pensions and a delay in National Insurance contribution changes will cost small businesses and the self-employed. 

The Federation of Small Businesses has pointed out that the minimum employer contribution to auto-enrolment saving schemes has risen from 1% of pensionable pay to 2%, with effect from the new tax year on April 6.

In addition, the self-employed will be “£150 worse off because of a delay to the scrapping of Class II National Insurance Contributions (NICs).” The levy was due to be dropped for the new tax year, but the move has been shelved temporarily.

Mike Cherry, the FSB’s National Chairman, said: “The doubling of auto-enrolment employer contributions will hit the very smallest firms and start-ups the hardest. Many have only set up auto-enrolment schemes in the past few months.

“Small businesses in labour-intensive industries such as retail, construction and childcare will feel the impact of this rise most acutely. These sectors are already beset by high inflation and skills shortages.

“Small business owners want to see employees save, but more needs to be done to help firms absorb high labour costs. That starts with increasing the Employment Allowance to £4,000. At the same time, new incentives need to be put in place to encourage the self-employed, who miss out on auto-enrolment, to save for the future.”

The FSB estimates that 4 million self-employed ‘entrepreneurs’ will be affected by the delay in the NIC Class II change. “The self-employed miss out on many social security benefits, like auto-enrolment, that employees enjoy. That should be recognised by HMRC. Class II NICs need to be shelved next year without any more excuses,” said Mr Cherry.

He also called for the scheme to make tax returns quarterly online to remain voluntary “for the foreseeable future, allowing time for thorough user-testing and providing space for success stories to emerge.”

FSB statement