The Chancellor has been asked to freeze the minimum wage in a bid to help the private sector lead UK industry out of the recession. The call comes from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), which has warned that this week's Budget must focus on giving the private sector the freedom and flexibility needed to bring about an upturn in the UK's financial fortunes. Confidence amongst businesses and consumers must be restored, says the group, which has proposed an extensive package of measures to aid cash flow. It includes: a freeze in the national minimum wage; the reintroduction of empty property rate relief; a reduction in the rate of small companies' corporation tax; and a reversal in the planned increase in National Insurance contributions from 2011 onwards. It has also proposed that short time working be encouraged as opposed to widespread job losses. "The Chancellor's Budget is an opportunity for the Government to prove its commitment to British businesses during this recession," said David Frost, director general of the BCC. "It will be business that drives the economy forward, creating jobs and wealth. Their importance to the country cannot be ignored."
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