What does the Queen’s Speech mean for the self-employed?
- 19 Dec 2019
- Jonathan Lima-Matthews
Today saw the almost unprecedented spectacle of the second Queen’s speech in two months. Following a huge win by Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party last week, the Queen has just outlined her government’s programme to ‘#GetBrexitDone’ and all manner of other things for the coming year. IPSE is pleased to see not one but four of our election manifesto recommendations included.
Here are the proposals that matter the most to the self-employed:
During the election campaign, the Conservatives heard the message loud and clear from IPSE and others that IR35 in the private sector would be a disaster. As part of this they committed to a review. We were hoping to see more details in today’s speech but so far nothing has been forthcoming. We’ll continue to seek assurances from the Government on when the review will happen – and push for a halt to the 2020 roll-out.
Saving for later life
Only 31 per cent of nearly five million self-employed people have a pension. That means millions of freelancers are potentially headed towards a pensions crisis. We are therefore pleased the government has committed to rolling out the pensions dashboard and making collective defined contribution pensions more widely available. Announcements did, however, stop short of a full strategy to bring the self-employed into retirement savings.
The gig economy
There’s not much to report other than a commitment to protect people working in the gig economy. Given the Taylor Review, which was published over two years ago, and called for gig workers to be placed in the worker category, this may be a sign the government agrees.
The government has said it will raise the National Insurance threshold to £9,500 next year, representing a small saving for millions of people.
The Small Business Commissioner is set to be given enhanced powers to tackle late payment. This is very welcome as late payment is a very serious problem for the self-employed; in fact, the average freelancer spends 20 days a year chasing unpaid invoices. The focus of these efforts, however, does seem to be the largest companies and not SMEs, who should also be a target for the Commissioner.
One in seven of all self-employed people are disabled, so it is great the Government has announced a National Strategy for Disabled People, which will include a green paper on how the welfare system can best support this group. The bad news is that much of the focus seems to be employment.
Good news whether you’re a homeworker or someone who works in an office. The Government has committed to accelerating the roll-out of 1 GB broadband across the country. Slow internet and broken connections could be a thing of the past.
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