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Private Sector Employment

Volume 524: debated on Wednesday 9 March 2011

13. What recent discussions he has had with the First Minister on support for private sector employment in Scotland. (44087)

In my recent discussions with the First Minister, we spoke about a range of issues, including economic policies. Returning the United Kingdom to sustainable economic growth is the Government’s overriding priority. We are doing everything we can to create the conditions that enable UK businesses to be successful and create more jobs.

If the Scottish economy is to be rebalanced, the future clearly lies with employment in the private sector. Can the Minister therefore give some indication of how much Scottish businesses will save from the Government’s changes to the employers’ national insurance threshold and rate, and of how many businesses will benefit from the payment holiday for new businesses?

My hon. Friend is right to point to the importance of reducing the tax burden, and we are determined to do that. We estimate that the national insurance reductions will bring a benefit of £280 million to businesses in Scotland, or the equivalent of helping 59,000 jobs.