Business leaders in the West Midlands have issued a call to the government to make it easier for companies to increase their workforce in the wake of mixed fortunes on the jobs front.
Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group (BCCG) said simplification of the initiatives to tackle unemployment would make a significant difference as ONS figures showed there was a slight fall in the number out of work in Birmingham but an increase in the wider Midlands region and the UK.
Michael Ward, president of Birmingham Chamber, said: "With a complex programme of youth contracts, city deals, a work programme and work experience schemes it is no wonder that employers and potential employees are confused about how to help people back into work.
"Employers have businesses to run and haven't the time to plough through the plethora of initiatives and the eligibility for each of them every time they want to recruit someone.
"These may be fine for the large corporate companies, but it is preposterous to think that SMEs and medium-sized businesses have time to get to grips with all of this. The Chamber urges the government to find a way to simplify the routes into the multitude of initiatives and to provide real financial incentives to encourage participation in them."
Birmingham figures showed a small fall in claimants from 52,338 in January to 52,135 in February, a drop of 0.1 per cent. However, in the West Midlands the figure rose from 1,649,190 in January to 1,685,989 in February, an increase of 0.1 per cent. Nationally, unemployment rose by 28,000 to 2.67 million.
Mike Ashton, spokesman for the West Midlands Chambers of Commerce, said: "It is disappointing that the regional figures have risen. Businesses want to play their part, but complex bureaucracy will not motivate them to get on board."
Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group
Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group is one of the UK's oldest and largest Chambers. It has nearly 3,000 member companies that employ over 200,000 plus affiliate organisations representing 15,000 people. It offers extensive services to industry and commerce, having served the interests of business for nearly three centuries, promoting trade locally, nationally and internationally.
Members of Birmingham Chamber Group: Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, Burton & District Chamber, Chase Chamber, Lichfield & Tamworth Chamber, Solihull Chamber, The Institute of Asian Businesses, British American Business Council and the Chamber Executive Club.