PRESS RELEASE: Government takes up Gloucester MP’s calls for tax support for small businesses to hire staff with disabilities

The government has confirmed it will look into tax incentives for employers of small and medium sized businesses who offer jobs to people with disabilities.

 Responding to Gloucester MP Richard Graham’s latest call to emulate the same policy of National Insurance (NI) exemptions that has proved so successful for SMEs to hire apprentices, Minister for Disabled People Sarah Newton said in Parliament last week that the government was looking at that option.

 She said “we have committed to look at what incentives would work for employers. I am very engaged with large, small and medium-sized businesses…[and] we have committed to looking at whether a national insurance holiday would be an incentive to help businesses employ more people with disabilities.”

 Richard said “it’s crucial to understand that this is not about saying a business needs an incentive to hire someone with a disability because their contribution will be lower. The issue is that SMEs which have not yet hired someone with a disability are worried it will take up a lot of management time, and maybe need physical change for company set up.”

 The City MP compared the situation with apprenticeships: “We went through very similar worries about apprenticeships a few years ago. And many SMEs are now amongst the strongest advocates for apprentices now after seeing how quickly they added value. I believe offering an NI exemption or reduction to SMEs would give able people with a disability a better chance of a good job.”

 The MP also noted that this would help the government achieve its objective of getting a million more people with disabilities into work, and provide real opportunities for them.

 Richard Graham said, “I hope that a genuine consultation will follow for employers to give their views. It could be a break through moment.”