The Conservatives must keep their promise to review IR35 and support the self-employed (Politics Home)

There was a lot of talk about target demographics in the 2019 election, from the “Red Wall” to the much sought-after “Workington Man”. One of the key demographics for all parties – perhaps a little less spoken about, but extremely important – was the self-employed.

Overall, there were 186 seats where the number of freelancers was higher than the majority of the sitting MP. Among them were not only 80 Conservative seats, but also many of the party’s target seats, including “Red Wall” constituencies such as Workington, Wrexham and Bishop Auckland. The self-employed vote was, in fact, a significant part of the Conservative Party’s remarkable majority.

Now, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised he will do more to keep his new northern, working-class constituencies happy: he must do the same for freelancers and make sure his party keeps its promises to them. 

The Conservatives came out strong on this, pledging a full review “to explore how we can better support the self-employed”, including “improving their access to finance”, “making the tax system easier to navigate” and “better broadband”.

The self-employed sector is among the most productive and innovative parts of the workforce – one of the great dynamos of the British economy. Mr Johnson now has a golden opportunity to supercharge it and drive the economy ahead. But to do that, he must first make sure his party keeps its promises and protects freelancers from a disastrous IR35 error in April.

 

UK wage growth stalls as earnings remain below pre-recession peak (Reuters)

The number of people in work in Britain unexpectedly rose in the three months before the missed Oct. 31 deadline for Brexit, according to data which suggests the labour market was retaining some of its strength.

The number of people in employment rose by 24,000 to 32.8 million in the August-to-October period, bucking the median forecast for a drop of 10,000 in a Reuters poll of economists.

The employment rate hit an all-time high of 76.2% while the unemployment rate fell back to its lowest level since the three months to January 1975 at 3.8%.

Britain’s labour market has stayed strong even as the economy slowed following the 2016 referendum vote to leave the European Union. That is due in part to employers, who are uncertain about what Brexit will bring, hiring staff who can be laid off easily rather than making longer-term commitments to invest in equipment.

But there had been signs recently that the jobs boom was weakening. These prompted two interest-rate setters at the Bank of England to vote for a cut to borrowing costs last month, and they are expected to do so again this week. 

 

Can microtasking solve the productivity puzzle? (Raconteur)

Microtasking is a process whereby manageable pieces of work are effortlessly embedded into those habits that chip away at our daily attention span.

To understand why casual microtasking could have far-reaching implications for productivity, we need to look briefly at the behaviour that causes procrastination.

Casual microtasking seems to be so effective because it works within this habit loop of procrastination, rather than fight against it like many of the other touted “productivity hacks”. 

 

‘Together we can share the load’: How freelancers and arts organisations can work together (Arts Professional)

Freelancer Carla Kingham believes that Arts Organisations should make better use of freelancers, given how much they can help one another, due to the skills they can swap to help benefit each other: 

“Much of a freelancer’s worth is in the breadth of their experience, developed off the cuff and on the job. The wealth and diversity of knowledge and skills this offers should be at a premium to arts organisations, In return, the sense of community, shared vision and opportunity for development offered by organisations is deeply enriching for siloed freelancers such as myself.”

Read on to find out how you can make use of arts organisations to help benefit your freelance career.

  

How bots are stealing artwork from artists on Twitter (BBC News) 

Artists have told the BBC how their artwork is being stolen from social media and sold for profit online.

They claim malicious individuals are finding their art, often with the aid of an automated system known as a bot, and uploading it on to a website where it can be sold on a T-shirt without the artist’s permission.

The individuals then comment underneath the artist’s work on social media with a link to the T-shirt website, tricking the artist’s fans into thinking it is an official product.

Some artists have claimed this entire process can occur without any human intervention.

They say the bot finds the image, uploads it to a third-party T-shirt-selling website, and posts the link automatically.

This led some artists to try to get their own back on the bots by posting images that clearly state they are infringing copyright.

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