A message from IPSE’s Co-Chair Iain Sturrock on National Freelancers Day

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Happy National Freelancers Day! I’m delighted to say that, this evening, we’re once again championing the self-employed community and recognising innovation and excellence at the IPSE Freelancer Awards 2023. I look forward to meeting all the fantastic nominees and our wider self-employed network tonight; it’s always great to see IPSE recognising the truly outstanding contribution of the sector.

Tonight’s awards ceremony takes place at the spectacular Landing Forty Two in London – the UK’s highest dedicated events space situated on the 42nd floor of ‘The Cheesegrater.’

This year, we will also be recognising the ‘IPSE Member of the Year’ – that one member that has given the most back to their fellow members and supported the work and campaigning of IPSE.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all our engaged members for their continued support of IPSE, and I know that the IPSE team have had a real job trying to pick a winner from an extensive shortlist for this award.

Changes to IPSE membership

Based on feedback from our members and the wider self-employed community, we have been working at tailoring IPSE membership to the different ways in which self-employed individuals now operate.

That’s why we’re introducing five new categories of IPSE membership, so that the self-employed community can choose whichever suits them best. They are: Community, Kickstart, Freelancer, Director, and Umbrella. To learn more about these upcoming changes and understand how memberships will change, the IPSE membership team has put together a dedicated FAQ page.

I’d like to acknowledge the valuable feedback from members via email and through the IPSE forums on the benefits that matter most to you. Following these discussions, we have extended jury service cover to those in the Director membership that might find themselves temporarily working through an umbrella company. 

We’re always looking to improve IPSE membership and we’d greatly appreciate any feedback you might have on these changes by sending your thoughts to [email protected].

Campaigning on behalf of our members

IPSE has been closely supporting members caught-up in the nightmare that is Managed Service Company (MSC) investigations. Two months ago, we stepped up our campaigning on this issue and urged HMRC to halt its use of MSC legislation in these investigations until a full review of the legislation and its intended purpose is carried out.

In my opinion, one of IPSE’s key strengths is when our community comes together. That is exactly what has happened with this campaign. After asking our members and the wider self-employed community to adopt a template letter and write to their MP, I’m delighted to say that over 60 MPs have now been contacted on this issue.

Not only has this increased awareness amongst MPs, but it has also facilitated a meeting between IPSE staff and HMRC’s lead official on MSC legislation. We are also aware that both the Chancellor and the Financial Secretary have been contacted by MPs acting on behalf of their constituents.

With over three-dozen IPSE members now embroiled in these investigations, I do hope these members feel that IPSE is fighting their corner and I know many have found the regular Q&A sessions particularly useful.

If you haven’t already written to your MP, it would help us enormously if you would do so, as MPs are chiefly concerned with what their constituents are saying.

Join the campaign

IPSE will keep on pressing Ministers in the Treasury, backbench MPs and government officials about the need to halt these investigations. We will also continue to support our members with the help of our partners at Markel Tax.

Get protection before it’s too late

If you are not yet an IPSE member, please be advised that you won’t be able to access the tax investigation insurance if you join us after you receive a Regulation 80 determination notice and HMRC begin an investigation against you under MSC legislation. We want to get the word out and minimise the risk that you might have to face an MSC investigation alone.

We know that HMRC has begun the process of issuing Reg 80 determinations for the tax years 2018-19 and beyond and we remain concerned that – should HMRC be successful in test cases – further accountancy services providers and their contractor clients could be targeted.

Join now

Continuing to be the voice of the self-employed

I was also delighted to see the Small Business Minister, Kevin Hollinrake, appear on an IPSE webinar last month, with members able to directly pose their questions to the Government.

We are working hard to secure future opportunities for our members to grill representatives from opposition parties ahead of an election next year, so keep your eye on our newsletter in the coming months.

We also continue to produce the authoritative insight on IR35, with our research demonstrating the devastating impact of the reforms on our members, the wider self-employed sector, clients and the UK economy and receiving excellent coverage in the Financial Times recently.

Our Director of Policy, Andy Chamberlain, has also continued his tireless campaigning on behalf of IPSE and recently appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Money Box to discuss the key challenges and opportunities of setting up a self-employed business.

You can listen to that interview here.

Celebrating our freelance community

This month, we’ve also launched our new 1-2-1 Success Sessions, a new platform that connects experienced members with more fledgling members. Whether you have a burning question on self-employment, or you’re just looking for someone to bounce ideas off, our knowledgeable members have kindly given up their time to help self-employed businesses that may be in their formative years.

We are privileged at IPSE to have so many members that actively want to help and support other members.

Book a chat today

If you’re still looking for ways get involved in the IPSE community, I would urge you to consider getting involved in the IPSE Policy and Research Committee, in our Member Stories series, on the IPSE Forums or join our newly launched IPSE Member Directory.

Finally, I like to wish you a good summer. It’s often easy to forget to take time off when working for yourself, but I do hope IPSE members across the UK will be able to get away from their desks and enjoy (or perhaps hide from!) some of the glorious sunshine that we’ve been experiencing in recent weeks.

To celebrate National Freelancers Day 2023, we're offering all new joiners 15% off membership* for a limited time! Join using the code AWARDS23 before 9 July, 2023 to claim your 15% off membership.

*offer only applicable to new memberships and cannot be used by existing members or in conjunction with any other offers.


Meet the author

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Iain Sturrock

Co-Chair, IPSE