Last week started with a flurry of activity when the PCG heard that the Government (Dawn Primarolo) had held 'secret meetings' with a number of representative bodies to discuss the way forward for IR35.
After the substance of this was confirmed in an FT article, the PCG made its views known in a press notice to trade and nationals; a letter to Dawn Primarolo from David Ramsden; a letter to the IR officials from Kevin Miller with a summary of the alternative proposals and their impact on the economy.
Rumours abounded that the Revenue was set to make an announcement of a 'done deal' during the week. Fortunately, this did not materialise and whether the letters and the attendant media coverage instigated by the PCG can be in part responsible for this is a matter of speculation. However, this story was widely reported in nationals and trades and will, along with the direct letters, have been brought to the attention of Ministers and senior officials.
The main points which PCG brought to the Minister's and the media's attention were:
- The Government should engage in proper consultation;
- This cannot be done by excluding PCG from this process;
- The original proposals were flawed and there is a danger that rushed alternative proposals without proper consultation will also be flawed;
- The PCG has commissioned Professor John Burton from the University of Westminster to undertake an economic study of the principles;
- If the Government chooses to ignore our approach we would conclude that the measure has more to do with raising tax and benefiting certain favoured large companies than promoting fairness and the protection of worker's rights.
David Ramsden also wrote to several Peers (Government and Opposition) reminding them of Lord McIntosh's undertaking to hold a seminar during the recess to discuss IR proposals and try to find a workable compromise.
In the meantime, the Government has continued to take every opportunity to portray itself as the promoter of IT and small businesses with a series of announcements and reviews, while still coming in for criticism for its failure to ease the bureaucratic burden on small businesses.
Press officer for the Professional Contractors Group
Information Links: (All Adobe Acrobat pdf files)
PCG letter to Dawn Primarolo, 6th July
PCG letter to Dawn Primarolo, 6th September
PCG letter to Sarah Walker at Inland Revenue, 9th September