SMALL and micro businesses across Britain have said they plan to take on 1.9 million extra employees this year, with 400,000 home-based firms looking to take on their first member of staff.

The report, by Direct Line for Business, revealed that new employees joining small and micro businesses this year will work on average 28 hours a week. Firms looking to hire their first employee this year will expect those hires to work fewer hours, at 21 per week.

On pay, small and micro businesses said they plan to pay new staff an average of £14,405 a year, while self-employed businesses will start new staff on £10,795, the report found.

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The report said the new jobs will bring £27 billion in wages to the economy.