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Call for new Government to keep IR35 promises
by Susie Hughes at 13:59 16/12/19 (Political News)
As the dust settles on the new political landscape, freelancer groups are looking to the new Conservative Government to keep its promise to review IR35 and support the self-employed.
Prior to the election, the contender parties were all making pledges to review the controversial roll-out of the IR35 changes due to take place in the private sector in April 2020.

However, review is a long way from reform or abolish - so there is an anxious wait now for what happens next - if anything.

IPSE - welcome
Freelancer group IPSE has welcomed the new Conservative Government and pledged to work with it to ensure it keeps its promises and called for them to halt the proposed April changes.

Chris Bryce, CEO of IPSE said: “We welcome Mr Johnson’s new Government and look forward to working with it in the coming months and years to get a fair deal for freelancers – particularly on IR35.

“We campaigned hard against the disastrous changes to IR35, and we will be holding Chancellor Sajid Javid to his promise to review them.

“To truly support the self-employed, this Government must also halt the changes, which are due in April, while a full review is carried out. Time is short: the new Conservative government must act now to protect this vital sector.

“The Conservative Party manifesto also pledged to conduct a full review of how government can better support freelancers in areas such as access to finance, making the tax system easier to navigate and better access to broadband. We will ensure this Government keeps this promise too.

“The self-employed sector is not only a vital and growing part of the workforce: it is also one of the great dynamos of the British economy. This government now has the chance to supercharge it with a new deal for freelancers, but that must start with halting and carrying out its pledge to review IR35.”

APSCo - IR35 and migration
Agency group, APSCo, also wanted the Government to honour its commitment to review the roll-out of the IR35 changes. The group also noted that its agent members would welcome the commitment to attract talent from around the globe, reflecting APSCo's own comments about for a visa system to reflect the need to attract highly-skilled overseas contractors.

Tania Bowers, from APSCO said: “Although not mentioned in the party’s manifesto, since the document was published, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid has promised a review of how the Government could further help the self-employed, adding that ‘one thing in particular’ he wants to look at is the proposed changes to IR35.

"We welcome this commitment whole-heartedly. Indeed, in APSCo’s own manifesto, we have called for a rethink on off-payroll working in the private sector, which we believe should, at least, be delayed pending completion of an assessment on employment status.

“In terms of future migration policy, our members will welcome the Government’s commitment to ‘attract the best and brightest from all over the world’.

"Although an ‘Australian-style’ points-based system would, in theory, remove barriers for highly skilled professionals, APSCo maintains that we need a system which is sufficiently flexible to enable those without a permanent job offer to live and work in the UK.

"In our own manifesto, we have called for a dedicated visa route as part of the future skills-based immigration system, through which highly skilled contractors from overseas can come and support British businesses.”

ARC - Key areas
The Association of Recruitment Consultants (ARC) also echoed the call that the promised review is carried out as soon as possiblem, but then went further to state that this should be done in conjunction with the reform of employment status.

Adrian Marlowe from ARC said: “Now that the direction over Brexit is clear we look forward to a focus by the Government in some key areas affecting recruitment and employment. We hope that the promised review of IR35 can be done as soon as possible, as business needs to know whether it will apply from April 2020.

"However, we call for this review to be in conjunction with reform of employment status. In February 2018 it was recognised that ‘employment status is the core of both employment law and the tax system’, but that ‘it often fails to provide the clarity and certainty that individuals and businesses need’. The Good Work Plan in December 2018 promised to review employment status, yet little action to provide that clarity has yet been taken.

“IR35 relies on determination of employment status and many businesses affected will not only suffer from lack of certainty but may be forced to undertake unnecessary administrative change and pay inappropriate levels of tax as a result. It makes little sense to proceed with the IR35 change without reviewing the employment status rules.

“As the country leaves the EU, now is the time to progress this area and move to a fairer system, less reliant on uncertainty and costly court and tribunal action. The UK has lead the way by recognising that flexibility of engagement is attractive to both employers and workers. This should not be lost, as is threatened by the proposed IR35 extension. It must be possible to protect the rights of workers whilst at the same time allow for flexibility without penalising businesses. Tax avoidance stems from the ambiguity that currently exists.

“We welcome investment in the NHS, education and climate change policy, particularly as the UK aspires to lead on climate change technology. Each demands policies for staff supply that promote work in the UK to those we need from home and abroad to address the highlighted shortages. Recruitment and employment specialists will inevitably remain key. Suitable immigration and tax policy will enable them to fulfil their function to help achieve government objectives in these critical areas. At the same time we would welcome greater investment in national training in the areas that are really necessary for example health, education and green technology, and believe a sharper focus for the apprenticeship levy into these areas is compelling.”

Further IR35 information
For more information about all aspects of IR35, including the controversial IR35 reforms see Shout99's News on IR35 section.

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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2019

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