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Small businesses attack ‘never-ending saga’ of auto-enrolment

The Federation of Small Businesses has launched a blistering attack on the “never-ending saga” of auto-enrolment, criticising the cost to firms and the quality of Government communications.

Speaking at a Social Market Foundation fringe event at the Conservative conference in Manchester yesterday, FSB national policy chairman Mike Cherry said the original intentions of auto-enrolment have been “skewed”.

Cherry said: “It seems to be a never-ending saga. It started in 2005 when it had cross-party support so it was a done deal as far as business was concerned.

“Lord Turner’s original intentions have been skewed. Since then we have had choice brought in which is a retrograde step.

“For our members it is about affordability and any question of choice leaves the associated liabilities of making the wrong choice for their employees, which could come back to bite them in the future.”

Cherry said the Government’s advertising and communications campaign had not done “anywhere near” enough to make people aware of the changes.

The Forty Group of Conservative backbench MPs have called for micro-firms to be exempt from the reforms.

Cherry said: “We were calling for an exemption for micro-businesses and moved significantly forward on it but our lobbying will now focus on the remaining administration and cost burdens.”

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