THE Federation of Small Businesses in Huntingdonshire has added its voice to calls for the Government to freeze National Insurance. The FSB has joined other business and employment organisations, including Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, in encouraging small firms to sign a petition protesting against the proposed one per cent rise in National Insurance contributions, due to take effect in April. Research by the FSB with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) suggested that increasing employers' contributions by one per cent would cost 57,000 jobs at a time of record unemployment figures, but would not give any substantial help to plug the Government's gap in public finances. The FSB wants to see businesses using the petition to persuade the Government to reverse the planned National Insurance contributions rise and prevent any rises in the foreseeable future. Raising taxes on small businesses must be a last resort if they are to do their job of helping to put the country on a steady road to recovery, the FSB added. FSB Huntingdonshire chairman Malcolm Lyons said: "This petition calling for no rise in National Insurance contributions will tell Government that real action needs to be taken to really help tackle unemployment. "The rise in National Insurance is a tax on jobs and will cost the country in thousands of jobs, as well as prevent small firms from taking on more members of staff at this crucial time in the country's economic recovery." Mr Lyons added that many of the country's 4.8 million small firms wanted to take on staff, but were put off by taxes. "The Government can give the economy a real helping hand by freezing National Insurance and helping to encourage small firms to grow and take on additional employees. "It is vitally important that businesses sign the petition to drive the message home that opposition to this tax rise comes from the grass roots. "This affects all small businesses and their employees and we must make ourselves heard.