By Claire West

Small businesses across Britain could be heading for a double dip recession as a result of the budget after it emerged the numbers seeking to make staff redundant has soared in recent weeks.

Despite today’s figures showing growth in GDP over the second quarter of 2010, employment law experts say they have been receiving more requests for advice on redundancies since the emergency budget a month ago than at any other point since early 2009.

Peter Mooney of Employment Law Advisory Services (ELAS), said: “We have not seen an explosion in calls for advice on any one issue like this since the peak of the recession 18 months ago.

“We were already becoming quite concerned by the rising number of enquiries we were receiving before the budget, but there has been a significant rise since then.

[i]“At the moment, we can’t be sure how many companies were hoping not to have to make redundancies until they’d heard the detail of the budget, or indeed how many jobs have since been lost, but it is a clearly a concern.”[i]

ELAS specialises in advising small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) across the UK.

And despite today’s figures point to a recovery in the sector, one of the industries worst affected by the recent fall in business confidence is construction, followed closely by the independent education sector.

The news comes just days after the Bank of England published data showing that lending to British SMEs had all but dried up, leading to fears for the fragile recovery.

ELAS provides employment law support to thousands of small and medium sized businesses across the UK through bespoke advice, a suite of intelligent business solutions software and via a 24-hour helpline.

Enquiries about redundancies made to the 24-hour helpline began rising in April after several successive monthly falls.

The volume of related enquiries peaked during the week commencing June 28 — immediately following the emergency budget — but monthly figures remain higher now than at any point since August 2009.