HUNTINGDONSHIRE Chamber of Commerce has pledged its support for a petition urging the Government to reverse the planned increase in National Insurance contributions. The proposed rise would see NICs increase by one per cent from April 2011, but the chamber is urging small and medium-sized business to sign the petition at www.no-nics-rise.co.uk. The internet petition has been started by a coalition of the UK's leading business groups including the British Chambers of Commerce, the FSB, the CBI and the IoD, urging the government to work with business groups to find alternative ways to close the UK's budget deficit. John Bridge, chief executive of Huntingdonshire Chamber of Commerce, said: "The fact that so many well-established and highly-regarded business groups have joined forces in this way shows what a significant issue the planned rise would be for businesses. "What the Government desperately needs to recognise is that now is the time to offer incentives to businesses, not inflict more costs. In particular, the cost of employing people must be reduced if future governments are serious about giving businesses the freedom to create jobs and drive our economic recovery." Recent analysis by the British Chambers of Commerce, using the Government's own impact assessments, found that employers face a bill of \u00A325.6bn to comply with new regulations between 2010 and 2014 - of which over \u00A314bn comes from the national insurance increase. Mr Bridge added: "By putting their names to this petition, the message from small business owners is clear - that an increase in employer national insurance contributions would inhibit their ability to generate economic growth. Official figures may say we're out of the recession but for many the reality is very different.