A BUSINESS leader has welcomed the fall in unemployment and an increase in the number of people starting their own enterprises.
Richard Hutchings spoke out after the national unemployment total dropped by 51,000 to 2.61 million – and another 84,000 joined the ranks of the self-employed to reach 4.7 million.
Mr Hutchings is the North Lincolnshire and West Lindsey branch chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses.
"The fall in unemployment is good news, but we must not get complacent," he said.
"Our latest research shows that small firms have cut jobs for the 10th consecutive quarter.
"They do want to grow and take on more employees but are being held back by a lack of credit from the banks and a squeeze on spending.
"We know that many small firms have missed growth opportunities because they can't access the money they need from the banks.
"There needs to be alternative sources of finance that small firms can tap into if the nation wants to see unemployment fall further."
Mr Hutchings said it was "great news" that more people are taking the leap and going it alone.
"With many people struggling to find work or a full-time job, we should be doing all we can to help those with entrepreneurial spirit to set up in business," he said.