A leading businessman from Yorkshire has called for the UK to adopt a shorter working week, similar to the Germans. He also warned that the autumn statement should deliver proposals to reduce youth unemployment, which has reached shocking levels.
The regional chairman of the Federation of Small Businsses, Gordon Milward believes that cutting taxes would help to create jobs. According to Milward, the FSB has campaigned for a reduction in National Insurance for all youths aged between 16 and 24 employed by micro businesses, encouraging job creation. The move would give tax breaks to the areas where benefits will be maximised, and youth unemployment reduced. The professor of finance and economics at York university, Peter Spencer thinks that a shorter working week, German style should be adopted in the UK.
Spencer, who advises the Ernst & Young Item Club, has pointed out the efficiency of the German work force, maintaining a buoyant labour market with a shorter working week. He said:
“This type of flexibility is built into the system through the routine use of working time accounts and in most industries there are plant-level arrangements for negotiating short time working in a downturn.”
The German benefits system is utilised to top up wages, so employees don’t suffer hardship. During the last recession, Germany’s level of unemployment increased only slightly, although exportation and output decreased sharply. According to Mr Spencer, the UK appears to be striving towards a similar goal.
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