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Small biz suffocated by employment red tape

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Britain's small businesses are struggling with the constant flow of employment red tape emitted by Westminster.

Complex regulations are restricting companies' ability to innovate and compete and will also hit future job creation, according to the British Chambers of Commerce.

UK unemployment figures are due for release tomorrow but the BCC said that less jobs would be created unless action was taken. The BCC wants a three-year moratorium on new employment law and cancellation of the one per cent hike in employers' National Insurance contributions planned for April 2011 as well as changes to how employment tribunals work.

Other complaints include that the average waiting time for first hearing at an employment tribunal is 20 weeks, that employers have the same health and safety obligations for home workers as for staff working in a factory or office and that employees can take action against their employer without taking any professional advice.

The BCC wants a limit of 16 weeks before a first hearing at an employment tribunal, to make remote workers be responsible for their own health and safety in their own homes, apart from equipment supplied by their employer, and to ensure that staff making complaints get advice from Acas or a solicitor before making a claim.

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