Local MEP Anthea McIntyre used her appearance on the BBC ‘Sunday Politics’ on Sunday, 17th March 2013 to welcome two major jobs-boosts for the West Midlands and to call on Chancellor George Osborne to take two specific actions to help the region’s small businesses.

“The region’s unemployment figure is stubbornly high and the statistics hide thousands of individuals desperate to take  a job and make their lives better.  But it is important that we recognise that employment in the region is at an all-time high with 107,000 more people in work today than 12 months ago.

“In the last few days we’ve heard that JLR will be recruiting another 700 workers for their engine plant on the i54 estate between Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire and that JCB, based in Rocester, Staffordshire, have won a £40million contract from the Brazilian Government.

“These most-welcome developments are mirrored day-by-day on a smaller scale by the region’s thousands of small and micro-businesses. 

“I hope the Chancellor in his Budget will take two positive steps to encourage smaller businesses to expand their workforces.

“The  first step is to make the current, temporary, Small Business Rate Relief scheme permanent.  The current scheme is due to expire on 31st March 2014 and action now will help small business-owners plan for the future.

“Perhaps more importantly, I’d be delighted if the Chancellor would amend the National Insurance Contribution Holiday scheme so that it covers existing businesses with four or fewer employees rather than being restricted to start-up businesses only.

“It is existing small businesses who are most likely to create new, long-term jobs and modest help to them when they hire somebody who has been unemployed could have a huge impact.”