The past few months have been a proverbial rollercoaster for IPSE and the 4.8 million-strong self-employed workforce. IPSE was delighted when, on March 15, the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that the Government were scrapping their proposed 2p NIC’s increase as declared in the Spring Budget a week before.
IPSE was at the forefront of calls to reconsider the original legislation and we welcome the news that our advice was heeded on this occasion. I have found both the Chancellor and the Prime Minister to be sensible people in all of my dealings with them and we look forward to further constructive talks with them in the coming months to develop fair, progressive legislation.
The U-turn was clearly a fantastic win for the self-employed population but we cannot and will not rest on our laurels. IPSE remains committed to promoting the vast contribution of the UK's selfemployed to UK plc and we'll remain at the forefront of representing this vital sector at every level, on every issue.
Changes to the way IR35 determinations are made in the public sector have recently been implemented. The responsibility of determining whether someone falls inside or outside IR35 has now passed from the contractor to the employer. IPSE has warned for some time about the dangers these measures could have in the public sector – concern and uncertainty has been widespread.
We have received reports from many people providing services to public sector organisations that the already unwelcome changes are being badly handled. Government needs to review the impact of these changes because it’s increasingly clear that the delivery of vital services and projects of strategic importance to the UK are being put at risk.
HMRC published the Employment Status Service (ESS) tool designed to provide a degree of clarity around IR35 status. I would urge any contractor affected to take the test and if you pass, show the results to your client or agency. IPSE will be watching closely to see how these changes play out over the coming weeks and months and will react accordingly.
On March 23 Simon McVicker, IPSE Director of Policy, appeared in front of the Taylor Review into modern employment practices. We called for a statutory definition of self-employment to end confusion about who can and can’t be considered to be self-employed. We also called on the Theresa May commissioned review to consider how to encourage pension uptake and savings and developing fairer maternity, paternity and childcare support. We believe these are fundamental considerations for the Government and we look forward to hearing the review’s recommendations later this year.
The immediate future holds a number of exciting events for ISPE. June marks the annual National Freelancers Day and 2017 promises to be bigger and better than ever. Applications have closed for the Freelancer of the year awards and we’ve been inundated with fascinating, brilliant, innovative and inspiring freelancers doing truly inspiring things. We are proud to stand alongside you and we are thrilled to be able to promote, champion and celebrate your achievements.