IR35 tops our priority list for the new government
- 07 Feb 2020
- Simon McVicker
Now that the dust has settled after the election result, IPSE has started the New Year moving quickly on several fronts.
Disappointingly, the government's review of IR35 – promised by Sajid Javid and other Conservatives during the election – falls far short of our expectations.
While it is little more than a consultation exercise, we have been lobbying hard to make the case for a delay to the private sector rollout. We have raised our concerns directly with the Treasury minister Jesse Norman in roundtables; discussed the issue with MPs across all parties, including the new intake of Tories, to sustain focus in parliament; and we’ll be supporting the ‘Stop the Off-payroll Tax’ lobby day on February 12th at Westminster. The REC and the CIPR are also backing our campaign.
From our discussions with MPs, we know there is pressure building on the Treasury to change course. You can find out more about how you can join the lobby day here and we strongly encourage members to contact your MP as well.
Our #stopIR35 campaign has also included a survey of members, to which an incredible number of you – over 3,400 – responded. Thank you to all who took part. We are poring over the results and we will be active in the media to get out the message about how the impending changes will damage the contracting sector. We will keep up the momentum over the coming months.
More positively, we are expecting some good government announcements on late payment. We have upcoming new research showing just how damaging this issue is for freelancers that we will also be publishing shortly. From discussions with officials, we know the Business Department and No. 10 are taking this issue seriously – watch this space.
IPSE has also sent a submission to the Chancellor ahead of the March budget. IR35 is at the forefront of our proposals but we have also outlined other arguments – on pensions, parental leave, and Entrepreneur’s Relief – that build on the policies in our recent 5 Million Votes manifesto.
Why should the Chancellor listen?
Firstly, the government’s ambition, as set out in its recent Queen’s Speech and the Conservative manifesto, is to build a high-wage, high-skill, low-tax economy. The flexible, specialist skills of the self-employed will be vital to achieving this.
Secondly, the title of our recent election manifesto – 5 Million Votes – has become a reality sooner than expected. New ONS figures showed the number of self-employed people in the UK passing the five million mark for the first time ever. This has been a genuinely remarkable change in the working lives of millions of people and a sign of our successful flexible labour market. It should also remind government and policymakers of the growing importance of this section of the workforce.
IPSE analysis has shown that the self-employed vote was a crucial factor in dozens of seats that the Conservatives won from Labour in 2019. If the party wants to maintain its success it will have to listen to this growing constituency. Perhaps the Chancellor and PM could make backing the self-employed their belated New Year’s Resolution…
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