Eleven groups representing UK contractors and freelancers have come together and written an open letter asking Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Sajid Javid to call for a halt on the loan charge and extension of off-payroll rules into the private sector.
The organisations have made two key demands. One is to suspend the loan charge before 30 September 2019 and have an independent review, which the Prime Minister announced that he agreed was necessary during his Priministerial campaign. Another is for the government to remove the roll-out of the Off-Payroll Tax from the draft Finance Bill and have the Treasury work with contractors and freelancers to reassess the ways in which the self-employed sector are contributing to the UK economy and tax system. The letter also demands an investigation into HM Revenue & Customs.
The director of the Stop The Off-Payroll Tax campaign and CEO of ContractorCalculator, Dave Chaplin, remarked: “The change of prime minister and chancellor must now lead to a change of course over contracting, if the Conservative government wants to win back the trust of the sector. This means announcing a halt to the damaging off-payroll tax and the unfair loan charge.
“Up until now, the Treasury has listened to no one other than HMRC, who have continually made a misleading case for these ill-considered policies, which may suit their aim of ‘maximising revenue’ but have already done and will do huge damage to contracting and British business. We hope now that under new leadership, with Boris Johnson as First Lord of the Treasury and Sajid Javid as Chancellor of the Exchequer, we’ll see a new approach, an end to the war of contracting and a commitment to work with the sector to properly recognise and celebrate the UK’s flexible workforce.”
Although employment rates have been on a high, the employment boom is looking like it’s nearing the end of its peak.
“The jobs market remains a source of strength for the UK economy, though it may now be reaching its peak,” said Tej Parikh, chief economist at the Institute of Directors.
“With investment in machinery and technology often deemed too risky right now, businesses have sought to bring on board more staff to help lift output. But as more workers have been snapped up, firms have found it harder to fill their openings. While competition has pushed up salaries, thin margins and low productivity may set a ceiling for pay growth.”
There are still 820,000 jobs with vacancies open currently, however, this is down by a fair amount from a peak of 861,000 at the turn of the year.
New Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show that 896,000 workers in the UK are on zero-hour contracts.
Trade unions hold the government accountable for this, saying they had “failed to crack down on unfair employment practices” even though official figures showed there had been a 15% increase in workers on zero-hour contracts in the past year – almost an all-time high.
Zero-hour contracts are when workers are on call but not guaranteed any work.
“For the first two and a half years I was self-employed, I was the very definition of a “hustler”. I thought it would be a couple of hours a day working on my laptop at a coffee shop. It was more like working 15-hour days at 8 different gigs, sort of like a circus performer juggling various live animals.” Read more about Laura Jane Williams’ tumultuous but worth it in the end journey into freelancing here.
Adam Day, a highly experienced and high profile figure in the estate agent industry believes that individual agents working for online companies suffer low income, difficulties with their work/life balance and don’t get to fully enjoy the true benefits of self-employment. Find out more here.