The way we work is changing. And with it so are the rules and risks that come with working for yourself. It’s more important than ever for there to be the necessary support and advice so your business can thrive.
Every day, IPSE works to represent and provide you with the best advice out there. If I had to offer a suggestion on this front, it would be to save for your future. Recent figures are showing that only a fifth of people working for themselves have a pension. This is a worry. If you are an IPSE member, you have no excuse – with IPSE Futures you can join pension, life assurance and private medical healthcare schemes at group rates, usually at a fraction of the cost you would pay as an individual.
As an organisation, we are here to help you. That’s why we offer you benefits like the one above. We are here to support your business so you can get on with running it. But sometimes we must come together as a community to fight for a common cause, and this is one of those occasions.
In just a few weeks our new Chancellor, Philip Hammond, will deliver his first Autumn Statement. These days, there is often little to distinguish this event from the Budget speech delivered every March. This is the time when we hear the details of the Chancellor’s plans, for everything from infrastructure spending and house-building to how people in the UK are taxed.
In all likelihood, we will then hear whether or not the Government is going to press ahead with changes to how IR35 legislation operates in the public sector. If you contract for the MoD, BBC or any other public institution that springs to mind, you may soon be unable to determine your status as a business. Your public sector client will have to decide if you are a legitimate business or an employee. We know it will be a nightmare for both contractors and their clients. You have told us to expect an exodus of public sector contractors if the rule changes go ahead.
There is still a chance to change the Government’s mind on this. We have presented the evidence at the highest level, including meeting the Prime Minister, as well as holding numerous discussions with HMRC, but you all have a role to play too. Write to your MP, arrange to meet them and keep up the pressure. Together we hope to change the direction of travel on this deeply worrying, and immoral, piece of policy left over from the previous Conservative leadership. IPSE is here to support the self-employed community, but it is when we act together that we are strongest.
Of course the UK’s decision to leave the EU still plays a big part in things. To ensure the self-employed continue to be well represented during the transition, IPSE are now part of a “Small Business Taskforce”, along with the likes of Enterprise Nation, ICAEW, RSA and Social Enterprise UK. Standing united, and representing almost five million self-employed people, we are calling on the Government to ensure our labour market remains flexible, the tax regime remains fair, and business support remains stable. And this is just the start. As the UK nears its exit from the EU, this taskforce will develop new policy ideas to ensure our flexible workforce remains as protected and valued as ever.