Election 2015: what’s in it for contractors and freelancers?
With 7th May just around the corner, it’s shaping up to be one of the most unpredictable elections in recent times. The Party leaders have been on the campaign trail, holding babies, petting animals, shaking hands, publishing policy papers and criticising each other at every opportunity.
But what are our want-to-be Prime Ministers pledging for UK contractors and freelancers? All of the major parties have indicated plans that will be of particular interest to contractors – although none have made much noise about IR35, most of the parties are looking to clamp down on zero hours contracts. But do they really mean it? Nearly all of the leaders have recently spelt out to IPSE* what they would do for contractors and freelancers if they are voted in next week so we’ve picked out the highlights:
Conservative Party manifesto
David Cameron is eager to stay in power (for just one more term, mind) and George Osborne claimed that his recent Budget “backs small business owners”. The subsequent Conservative Party manifesto promises to:
- look at other ways to support the self-employed
- make 30-day payment terms standard for small suppliers
- eject companies who don’t comply with the Prompt Payment Code
- establish a Small Business Conciliation Service, following Australia’s example.
Read our post-Budget blog to see what else the Conservatives are planning to do.
Labour Party manifesto
We said “nearly all” of the leaders outlined their plans to IPSE as Ed Miliband failed to contribute to the topic. In fact, in recent comments about rising levels of self-employment in the UK, Miliband simply commented “The rise of self-employment could in part be evidence of growing insecurity in the labour market”.
So we’ll move swiftly on…
Liberal Democrats manifesto
He’s had a taste of life in the hot seat for the past five years and Mr Clegg wants to continue the journey to economic recovery for the UK. He has promised a new tax system to help boost contractors and freelancers and says that they are “the sort of worker that will thrive in the new economy”, recognising the need for a labour market that reflects the realities of modern Britain:
- Extend free childcare to all 1 and 2 year olds
- Review the regulatory and tax environment to ensure it’s as pro-business as possible
- Continue investing in physical and digital infrastructure
- Improve and increase high speed broadband connections
- Put the self-employed and independent professionals at the heart of their agenda
Scottish National Party
As her popularity continues to rise during the election build up, Nicola Sturgeon hopes to win votes in Scotland with her promises:
- Be enthusiastic in SNP’s support for jobs and business
- Have an ‘open-door’ to freelancers, entrepreneurs and the self-employed
UK Independence Party (UKIP) manifesto
He’s known for his ‘out there’ statements but Nigel Farage’s plans involve boosting the self-employed, who he cites “are our greatest innovators”. Here’s what his party is offering you:
- Address the approach to repeated late payment offenders
- End the exploitative lending practices of the largest firms
- Clamp down on the requirement for small firms and independent professionals to demonstrate compliance in areas irrelevant to the public sector jobs they are tendering for
- Extricate the UK from the EU to free small firms from onerous regulations.
Green Party manifesto
Recognising that “self-employment is vital to the UK economy”, Natalie Bennett has promised to stand up for small businesses:
- Introduce legislation to ensure the self-employed are paid on time
- Ensure unemployment pay is available to the self-employed on equal terms to employees
- Help self-employed people with childcare costs and arrangements
- Make broadband access more widely, and easily, accessible
- Promote equal rights for self-employed people with employees in other sectors, based on their average income and hours of work.
Ahead of the General Election the IPSE Policy Team will be hosting an hour long Twitter chat at noon, this Thursday. The chat has been set up to encourage conversation around the election and what it means for contractors.
Join in @IPSEWestminster #ipseGE15 and then make your voice heard at the polling stations on 7th May.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on the election results and finding out how things stand for contractors after 7th May. We’ll share our thoughts and practical assessment with you.
IR35 not going away?
With little mention of IR35 in any of the manifestos, it looks like it’s here to stay. Check out our FAQs to make sure you’re in the know. As an Intouch client you are entitled to as many IR35 contract risk assessments as you request, as part of your £92 + VAT all inclusive fixed monthly fee.
This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisors. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.
*IPSE is the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed.
They are offering a 15% discount to Intouch clients wishing to join – simply quote INTOUCH2015 when you contact them.
This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.