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14% rise in late self-assessment tax payment fines 

Figures show that there has been a dramatic rise in the number of people who are being fined by HMRC for paying their self-assessment tax late.

331,000 people were charged when they failed to pay their tax within 30 days of its due date in 2016-17, the latest full year available. These figures show a 14% increase from the previous year when 291,000 people were fined.  

Tim Woodgates, associate and tax specialist at accountancy firm Moore Stephens, puts this increase in figures down to the rise in gig economy workers, saying: “The pool of people at risk of being fined for late payment is now bigger than ever as self-employment continues to grow.” 

If you’re new to freelancing, look at our article “A No-Nonsense Guide To Filing Your Tax Return” to make sure you aren’t one of the hundreds of thousands having to pay fines.

New diversity standards will be set out to offer more equal opportunities and promote diversity in the creative industries

Backed by the Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright, the Creative Industries Council are starting an apprenticeship scheme that will give young people from underrepresented groups the chance to work on big films and popular UK TV shows. The Charter has been introduced in order to build a more diverse workforce in the creative industries in the UK.

DCMS Secretary of State Jeremy Wright said: 

“The UK is a powerhouse for award-winning creativity enjoyed by millions globally. But our Creative Industries cannot remain the preserve of the privileged, which is why we are helping to create new opportunities to develop a more diverse workforce.

I welcome the Creative Industries Council’s Diversity Charter and also call for firm commitments from major studios, both in the UK and worldwide, to adopt the BFI’s pioneering Diversity Standards. Companies must provide opportunities for young people from all backgrounds to go as far as their talents take them in this thriving sector.”

 

The number of people turning to the gig economy to top up their income has doubled

A survey by the University of Hertfordshire found that almost 1 in 10 adults work via gig economy platforms every week. This way of working is called “platform work” and is used to supplement a full-time employed role. 

Ursula Huws, the Professor of Labour and Globalisation at the University of Hertfordshire, remarked on these findings, saying: “These results underline how important it is to tackle low pay and precariousness. But they also suggest that we need a new deal to provide basic rights for all workers in the digital age”

 

If you’re disabled and self-employed, you need to know about the Access to Work scheme

A report from IPSE has found that one in seven self-employed people are disabled. 

The positive reasons why disabled people are freelancing are to have more flexibility and gain more control over their work. Some also struggled in a 9-5 employed role because of a lack of understanding in the workplace and stigma towards their conditions.

Therefore, many people with disabilities decide to go it alone but aren’t getting the support needed to survive on a self-employed status. The Work Capability Assessment (WCA) doesn’t recognise the many conditions and impairments that disabled people suffer with.

However, the Access To Work scheme (ATW) is designed to support disabled people in work by offering specialist equipment, mental health support and transport, as well as job coaching and training to help people find work. 

As not many people know about this government led scheme, the government needs to better publicise it in order to help more disabled self-employed people.

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