Any promises to extend rights of self-employed might win an election, hint Brit freelancer orgs

Just saying


Political parties should extend the rights of the self-employed ahead of the country's general election on 12 December, including scrapping IR35 off-payroll working rules and addressing late payments.

This is the rallying cry from IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed), which today launched a manifesto for the 2019 General Election.

The organisation points out there are now around five million freelancers in Britain, a sector it claims could be a significant vote-winner. It is worth noting that a large number will include lower paid "gig economy" workers, unlikely to be affected by the same taxation issues as IT contractors.

Alasdair Hutchison, policy development manager at IPSE, said there is a "whole diversity of people who are freelancers and self-employed", with his employer having proposed a range of policy suggestions.

IPSE is calling on whoever wins the UK general election on 12 December to:

  • Build a modern tax system: a full review of small business tax (including scrapping IR35 and ending the confusion over the Loan Charge) to unleash the UK's entrepreneurial spirit.
  • End the culture of late payment: give the Small Business Commissioner more powers to clamp down on late payment – including "naming and shaming" and even fining the worst offenders.
  • Identify solutions for saving in later life: work with industry to create products that are tailored to help the self-employed put money away for retirement.
  • Update freelancers' parental rights: Extend Shared Parental Leave (SPL) to the self-employed and give them the same paternity/maternity pay rights as employees.
  • Incentivise workhubs to boost the high street: help revive Britain's struggling high streets by providing financil benefits for the creation of workhubs in empty premises.

Simon McVicker, IPSE director of policy and external affairs, said all parties should be listening to the needs of the self-employed and outlining policies that will make a difference to them.

"The self-employed could prove decisive in dozens of marginal constituencies across the UK. All parties would do well to remember this and IPSE will be working hard during the campaign to get the message out there."

However, Dave Chaplin, CEO of ContractorCalculator – which provides guidance for freelancers – noted that higher-paid contractors do not necessarily need an extension of rights across the board.

"Freelancers charge more than their permanent counterparts, because they don't get rights and the security of permanent employment. This 'freelance premium' is already built into the fees they charge.

"They should be putting money aside to be used for unexpected downtime, and can take out income protection insurance if they wish to further minimise risk. I see no reason to give the self-employed extra rights, but am in favour of giving rights to those classified as workers in law."

However, he added that there are still many good reasons for scrapping IR35 legislation. "IR35 is placing a huge burden on all businesses, including small ones, and stifles UK innovation," he said.

Seb Maley, CEO of insurance and tax adviser Qdos, said: "Certainly, contractors working inside IR35 – where they are taxed as an employee – must be handed employment rights. Currently, when operating under the IR35 rules, contractors – many of whom have been wrongly placed inside IR35 in the public sector – are taxed as if they are employees but receive no employment rights in return.

"This is completely illogical and unjust and must be resolved. The government has spoken about aligning tax status and employment rights in the past, but with IR35 reform less than six months away, plans to offer contractors rights in return for paying tax effectively as an employee must be implemented."

He added that, given the diverse nature of the UK's entire self-employed population, it isn't a black-and-white issue. "But it is a topic that needs to be discussed. As the general election approaches, the vote of the independent workforce has arguably never been more influential. Politicians would be naive not to take this into account." ®

Similar topics

Broader topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Talos names eight deadly sins in widely used industrial software
    Entire swaths of gear relies on vulnerability-laden Open Automation Software (OAS)

    A researcher at Cisco's Talos threat intelligence team found eight vulnerabilities in the Open Automation Software (OAS) platform that, if exploited, could enable a bad actor to access a device and run code on a targeted system.

    The OAS platform is widely used by a range of industrial enterprises, essentially facilitating the transfer of data within an IT environment between hardware and software and playing a central role in organizations' industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) efforts. It touches a range of devices, including PLCs and OPCs and IoT devices, as well as custom applications and APIs, databases and edge systems.

    Companies like Volvo, General Dynamics, JBT Aerotech and wind-turbine maker AES are among the users of the OAS platform.

    Continue reading
  • Despite global uncertainty, $500m hit doesn't rattle Nvidia execs
    CEO acknowledges impact of war, pandemic but says fundamentals ‘are really good’

    Nvidia is expecting a $500 million hit to its global datacenter and consumer business in the second quarter due to COVID lockdowns in China and Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Despite those and other macroeconomic concerns, executives are still optimistic about future prospects.

    "The full impact and duration of the war in Ukraine and COVID lockdowns in China is difficult to predict. However, the impact of our technology and our market opportunities remain unchanged," said Jensen Huang, Nvidia's CEO and co-founder, during the company's first-quarter earnings call.

    Those two statements might sound a little contradictory, including to some investors, particularly following the stock selloff yesterday after concerns over Russia and China prompted Nvidia to issue lower-than-expected guidance for second-quarter revenue.

    Continue reading
  • Another AI supercomputer from HPE: Champollion lands in France
    That's the second in a week following similar system in Munich also aimed at researchers

    HPE is lifting the lid on a new AI supercomputer – the second this week – aimed at building and training larger machine learning models to underpin research.

    Based at HPE's Center of Excellence in Grenoble, France, the new supercomputer is to be named Champollion after the French scholar who made advances in deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs in the 19th century. It was built in partnership with Nvidia using AMD-based Apollo computer nodes fitted with Nvidia's A100 GPUs.

    Champollion brings together HPC and purpose-built AI technologies to train machine learning models at scale and unlock results faster, HPE said. HPE already provides HPC and AI resources from its Grenoble facilities for customers, and the broader research community to access, and said it plans to provide access to Champollion for scientists and engineers globally to accelerate testing of their AI models and research.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022