The government?s National Insurance Contributions (NICs) holiday should be extended to cover existing small businesses if job creation is to be stimulated, business groups have claimed. Last year, chancellor George Osborne announced that start-up firms outside the South East of England would be exempt from National Insurance Contributions for the first five members of staff. However, with employment currently at high levels in the UK, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) believes this should be extended to cover established small businesses as well as start-ups. According to research by the lobby group, nearly half of small firms say they would take on more staff if NICs were reduced. The FSB also suggested that small businesses had been recruiting at a faster rate than large firms over the past year. John Walker, national chairman of the FSB, said: ?Unemployment is worryingly high and with inflation above target, small firms cannot rely solely on the consumer for growth. Government must give a helping hand to small firms and create an environment that helps small businesses grow and develop.? Walker said that while government measures had gone some way to helping small businesses, more needed to be done. He added: ?As we have heard time and again, the government is looking to the private sector to lead the recovery, but without the right measures in place, small firms are left without the tools they need for the job at hand. Please click the link for more information: ¯