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Chancellor must resist fresh Budget raid on the self-employed

IPSE has warned the Chancellor against using Monday’s Budget to extend “catastrophic” IR35 off-payroll changes to the private sector.

Extending the reforms – which have caused project delays and skills shortages in the public sector since being introduced in April 2017 – would stifle innovation, reduce productivity and heap a major administrative burden onto UK businesses.

IPSE’s Director of Policy, Simon McVicker, commented: “There is no other way to spin it: the Chancellor’s plans to extend IR35 reforms from the public to the private sector will be catastrophic.

“This anti-business policy has already wreaked havoc in the public sector, with skills shortages in the NHS and project delays at TfL.

“But rather than attempting to limit the damage, the Chancellor is fanning the flames with plans to roll out the same disastrous policies to the private sector.

“The message from companies and industry groups has been crystal clear: businesses will not be ready to implement these complex changes by April 2019.

“If the Chancellor does proceed, he will be turning his back on the very businesses he pledged to support only this month at the Conservative Party conference.

“After last year’s misguided attempt to raise Class 4 NICs, the self-employed are constantly looking over their shoulder for the next tax grab.

“If these reforms go through, the self-employed would be right to feel abandoned by the current Government. 

“And with the Brexit clouds of uncertainty rolling in, the timing couldn’t be worse. Is it really the Government’s intention to force the self-employed out into the Brexit storm without an umbrella?

“We urge the Government to see sense, consider the weight of evidence against the reforms, and follow through with policies which value – and don’t victimise – the self-employed.”