New research suggests UK SMEs are worried about the effects of NHS and welfare cuts on their financial health. Image courtesy of: photostock/freedigitalphotos.net
Over half of SME employers are concerned about the cost impact of the Government’s NHS and welfare reforms, according to new research from the Jelf Group
The benefits organisation found that 55 percent of the 169 SMEs it surveyed were worried about the cost implications of the reforms.
The group has called for the House of Lords
to examine the effects of the reforms on businesses before they are fully implemented.
“Anecdotal evidence of increased waiting lists on the NHS
may mean key employees take longer to return to the workplace,” it said.
“In the current economic climate this could be catastrophic for marginally profitable employers and even worse for fledgling business yet to make a return.
“Similarly, the government’s new approach to means testing those on long-term state incapacity benefit, via the work-capability assessment (WCA), is now finding that huge numbers of people are allegedly ‘fit’ to return to work.
“In effect, many of these claimants may be forced back into the workplace purely on financial grounds, even though it may be inappropriate for both the employee and employer,” it concluded.
Steve Herbert, head of benefits strategy for Jelf Employee Benefits
, said employers dealing with many staff either off sick or being forced to return to work could create significant financial pressures. He added that the impact on micro-businesses could be even more acute.
“The Health and Social Care Bill and welfare reforms are both hugely contentious issues for this country but to date, the debate hasn’t particularly expanded beyond those individuals or organisations on which it will have an immediate impact,” he added.
“Small and medium-sized enterprises are struggling with a number of economic pressures and this could be the straw that breaks the donkey’s back.
“We very much understand that reforms are required, however, we recommend that the House of Lords should consider the wider impact on business in the interests of providing a stable labour market and employment opportunities.”