With Brexit negotiations in full swing and the Taylor review published, this summer has been incredibly busy, despite parliament being on recess. And with the government back in action and looming party conferences, the next few months are going to be very interesting.
Autumn is here, meaning its back to school for the kids. And as for the self-employed, it certainly looks like there is going to be some big changes in the coming year and IPSE is determined to ensure that we stay high on the government’s agenda.
At the time of writing, the number of people working on their own account has reached 4.85 million, the highest number since records began. The growing ranks of selfemployed are pushing the labour market to new heights. This is something that should be celebrated everywhere from Southampton, to Stirling.
Given these swelling numbers we need to think about how to nurture this sector. It’s why the Prime Minister asked Matthew Taylor to produce a report – something IPSE contributed to.
Matthew Taylor published his review into modern working practices in July, and in this issue of the magazine, we have interviewed him to find out more about the reasons behind his recommendations.
IPSE has welcomed many of the recommendations in the review but we did have some concerns about his suggestion of bringing in the dependent contractor status.
Our concerns centred on how the report considered control to be the sole factor determining employment status and we raised this with Taylor.
We also asked Taylor about tax as he has spoken quite openly about backing the chancellor last spring on raising class 4 national insurance contributions. He firmly believes that this is the right move forward, but we think this could have a damaging effect on the self-employed sector.
Luckily, this looks unlikely to recur in the new term, Philip Hammond will be chastened after getting his fingers burnt in March. While we hope that many of Taylor’s recommendations will be high on the government’s agenda, currently, Brexit seems to be overshadowing much of politics.
Times really are tough at the moment for the selfemployed. Our own research has revealed that confidence levels have plummeted to an all-time low with Brexit and government policy being the biggest factors on this figure.
Around two-thirds of freelancers surveyed were concerned about the economy, with many predicting a major slowdown. But that’s not all, we are now seeing the effects of the IR35 changes rolled out in the public sector in April and many people seem to be reluctant to take on contracts with many government departments.
So how can we improve things for the self-employed? Well, it’s all in the government’s hands – will they roll out the recommendations in the Taylor review, will we be seeing the end of the single market, what will the Chancellor say in the autumn Budget?
Whatever happens, IPSE is here for you. We want to ensure the voices of the self-employed sector are heard, and there are tools out there, which you can use to help you strive. It is why we have recently launched our new guide to freelancing, Be your own Boss, which is available to download from our website.
We also have the money roadshow coming up this October, where we will be bringing expert financial advice from our partners at five locations around the UK.
All the details of where we will be are here.