Workers see cut in hours at small firms

A third of the UK’s small and medium sized businesses are considering reducing the number of hours their employees work in order to save money, according to research by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

In a sample poll of 4,633 FSB members, 32% of respondents reported they considering making such cut-backs, while 14% said they had already reduced employees hours.

When applied to the 4.7million small firms in the UK, the poll revealed that almost 1.5 million small businesses risk going bust, highlighting the reality of a rise in unemployment figures. Around one fifth of respondents stated that they had already been forced to reduce their work force and 32% were considering it.

Nearly 70% of small business reported they had either put a freeze on hiring or were thinking of doing so.

John Wright, national chairman at the FSB, said: “These figures show how serious things have become for small business owners. The first step is for the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee to send out the right message this week by cutting interest rates by one per cent. This should hopefully encourage banks to lend and secure the future of millions of businesses.”