A week after the budget was released it has become clear that the focus for many new freelancers and self-employed is the abundance of debt in their lives. Quickly on the heels of publishing a story about Universities being unable to offer degrees that bring students out of debt, the BBC reported that The Money Advice Trust feels the same about being self-employed. While 15% of the workforce is self-employed in some form, due to late payments and lack of essential business management skills many get into debt of at least £30,000.
However, the government is attempting to help by extending the protection period from debtors from six weeks to two months. This story was also covered in The Mirror, saying that the government must push ahead with the new Single Financial Guidance Body to ensure that self-employed people are well served when it comes to debt and financial advice as well as pensions. This comes a week after Philip Hammond cut business rates by a third for all retailers in England with a rateable value of £51,000 or less.
In The Times, it was reported that business secretary Greg Clark has vowed to name and shame bad employers who fail to honour pay-outs at employee tribunals. This move is in standing with The Taylor Review’s recommendation that the loophole that allows employers to pay less to part-time staff than they would to full-time staff to do the same job be closed. After Labour promised an extension of the rights of workers earlier this year, the government is attempting to respond in kind with action against bad employers.
To protect yourself from the incoming debt, The Times also offers a quick guide to what you need to do to be prepared, starting with the tax return with HMRC that must be filed by November 14th every year. They also discuss what can be viewed as expenses, with an important distinction that on business necessary items can be charged as expenses.
For those of you looking for a career change to get out of debt, London Loves Business listed the highest average annual salary for various careers, starting at the top with lawyer, investment consultant, and software developer. However, very few of these matched with the most desired work, which most consisted of creative freelancers such as photographers and musicians.
Contractor UK feels that the strong contracting economy is under duress due to the changes to the IR35 tax reforms. The NHS, an organisation that is reliant upon contractors, have been told that they would lose 98% of their contract workers when the IR35 fee implementation takes place. The report warns all contract workers to batten down the hatches and prepare for the inevitable loss of revenue.
For anyone looking for flexible office space, London Loves Business reports that changes in the gig economy have driven the growth of flexible working space, such as that of WeWork or AndCo, are up 30% since 2014. A slew of companies that offer affordable workspace for freelancers means an increased ability to do work in a professional environment away from home.