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Finance directors believe a National Insurance Contributions holiday would boost employment and the economy

Nearly six out of 10 finance directors have backed a call for a year's holiday from National Insurance Contributions (NIC) when recruiting the long-term unemployed.

Grant Thornton polled 500 financial directors to gauge measures the business community would welcome to increase confidence in the economy and 59% believed a one-year NIC holiday would be the best method.

Grant Thornton also composed a tax manifesto, which proposes an NIC holiday.

Almost three quarters of respondents (73%) would also like to see more training for staff at the employer's expense, with increased tax breaks for the employer.

Francesca Largerberg, head of tax at Grant Thornton, said: "One of the legacies of this recession is large-scale unemployment. The direct costs, in the form of benefit payments and lost taxes, when coupled with the human costs to the unemployed and their families, place this at the top of any political agenda.

"Our survey shows that both employers and employees require urgent assistance from the Government in getting people back into work. This conference season will be a prime opportunity for the three main political parties to set out their stall on how to reduce the rate of unemployment and boost morale in the workplace."