Are pension providers closing the door on SMEs?
Financial advisers are warning that growing numbers of pension providers are closing their doors to SMEs as they reach their auto-enrolment staging date. According to research conducted by Defaqto on behalf of NOW: Pensions, 77% of advisers anticipate that growing numbers of pension providers will not offer their auto-enrolment schemes to businesses with fewer than 30 employees. Of the 248 advisers questioned, 33% already believe there isn't enough pension provider choice for employers and 82% claim that providers have been cherry-picking auto-enrolment business.
Government warning to firms that employ illegal immigrants
The Government has threatened to close firms that employ illegal immigrants as part of what it describes as its "crack-down on unscrupulous employers". The new measures will make it easier for the Government to prosecute employers who hire workers who don't have permission to work in England and Wales, as well as increasing the maximum jail term for employers flouting the law from two years to five.
Cameron consults on apprenticeship levy
Prime minister David Cameron has outlined plans to increase the number of quality apprenticeships and give businesses a say on how they are run. The Government has pledged to create three million apprenticeships by 2020. It is also giving employers the chance to give their views on the introduction of an apprenticeship levy, set to be introduced in 2017 and designed to increase investment in training and apprenticeships. Under the proposals, employers who put in funds will have direct spending power over it. Levy systems already operate in over 50 countries, including the Netherlands and Denmark.
New support for budding entrepreneurs
Start & Grow is a new business start-up initiative aimed at supporting ambitious entrepreneurs. It is specifically targeting people who haven't yet launched their business but are looking to achieve high growth and create employment opportunities. Support includes: one-to-one advice, skills training, mentoring, access to finance support and business planning. Supported by the Regional Growth Fund (RGF), Start & Grow will be delivered across England by the Cavendish Consortium in areas where there are lower levels of business start-ups.