Universal Credit system does not support the self-employed, report confirms

Universal Credit

A committee of MPs have poured scorn upon Universal Credit rules which they say risk “crushing” the self-employed and start-ups. In a report published on 10th May, the MPs state that the benefit has been “designed with little regard…for people starting and running their own business” with the ultimate consequence not stopping far short of “crushing potentially viable, productive enterprises.”

Despite freelancers, contractors, and the self-employed making up around a sixth of the entire UK workforce, the revelations come as little surprise given the cavalier attitude the government has displayed towards them in the past. With IR35 reform rumbling on, and a rolling out of private sector reform appearing inevitable, the Universal Credit blow is simply the latest example of the callous disregard shown towards an area of the workforce that has continued to grow despite the obstacles placed in its path.

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Top tips for organising your home office

Home Office Tips

As a contractor or freelancer – particularly if you’re a freelancer – you’ll spend a fair amount of time working from your home office. This will vary from person to person, of course, but most people have either a room or a section of a room in their house that they dedicate to work.

It’s not like working in an office where people will tell you where things get filed or how your space should look. Instead, it’s up to you. At Kingsbridge, we’ve picked up lots of tips from our self-employed clients over the years so we thought we’d share a few of our favourites in this blog.

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To pet or not to pet? Should I get a furry freelancer companion?

Pets in the Workplace

Freelancing is wonderful, it really is. You work on the jobs you want to work on, get paid the rate you want to be paid and work the hours you want to work. However, there is one great big downside that nearly all freelancers mention when asked: it’s lonely.

It’s why, if you go into any given coffee shop during the average working day you’ll see freelancers tapping away on their laptops, just to be around other people. Of course, there are other ways to ease solitude without spending £10 a day on flat whites and toasties. The most popular option? Get a pet.

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How could the TSB chaos have affected contractors and freelancers?

TSB Crisis

Spoiler alert: the answer is “significantly”.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave on Mars for the last week-and-a-bit, you can’t have failed to hear about the ongoing chaos at TSB as they attempted to migrate customer records from their old Lloyds TSB system to their new one.

If you’re not a TSB customer or an IT contractor, you may well have only given the story a fleeting glance. If so, you can bring yourself up to speed with the BBC’s timeline of events. Otherwise, all you really need to know is that all did not go as planned. There have been numerous problems including customers not having access to their accounts online, over the phone or in-branch, payments in and out of accounts not going through, and people being able to access accounts that were not their own.

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Productivity hacks for contractors and freelancers

Productivity Hacks

When you only have to answer to yourself, it’s easy to slip into an unproductive rut. Some days, Homes Under the Hammer is just too tempting. Others, you just can’t settle until the room has been dusted.

At Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance, we’ve spent years chatting to contractors and freelancers and productivity is often an issue that comes up. We’d like to share some of the advice we’ve picked up during that time and share it with you so you can be the most productive you’ve ever been.

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Why a home office spring clean can be essential for contractors and freelancers

Spring Cleaning

Despite appearances (until recently, at least) spring really is here and that means one thing: spring cleaning.

You’ve probably already given a thought to spring cleaning your home, getting your garden into order and perhaps even giving your car a thorough scrub inside and out. But have you really given any thought to your home office? Obviously, you’ve probably considered giving it a dust and a vacuum, but what about a proper, honest-to-goodness spring clean where you clean, tidy, organise, throw out stuff you don’t need and replace things that require replacing?

We’ve put together a list of reasons why you should bother.

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How have IR35 reforms affected contracting?

IR35

It’s been almost a year since the UK government’s controversial reforms to IR35 in the public sector and, with rumours of similar upheaval coming to the private sector in the future, we’re beginning to see the effects of the changes.

What were the reforms?

If you’re not a contractor working in the public sector, or if you’re a freelancer and haven’t had to deal with IR35, you may well have missed the finer details of the reforms. If you don’t know what IR35 is, first read our quick guide to bring yourself up to speed.

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APSCo 2018 ‘Aloha’ Hawaiian Charity Ball

APSCo Charity Ball

We’re delighted to be the headline sponsor of this year’s APSCo Charity Ball. For 2018 APSCo are heading north to Manchester, where the Ball will take place at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate on 7th June. The event is designed to raise vital funds for St. Ann’s Hospice in the city.

The theme is an appropriate one for summer – ‘Aloha Hawaii’. Although the weather in Manchester might not quite match the weather in Honolulu, plenty of fun is sure to be had. Think flower garlands, grass skirts and palm trees. Elvis in ‘Blue Hawaii’. Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘Romeo + Juliet’. Surfing in Oahu.

Here at Kingsbridge, we’re very much looking forward to spending some time with our key partners in the north, and it’s great to see the good people at APSCo move away from London and bring a fantastic night out to a powerhouse city where a number of recruitment professionals do some excellent work.

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Weekend Reading 13/04/18

Weekend Reading

It’s that time of the week again. See below for a few stories to read curled up by the fire / sitting out in the porch (delete dependent on weather) this weekend. We’re taking a look at the automotive and oil and gas industries, amongst a few others:

Jaguar Land Rover ‘to cut 1,000 jobs’ in Solihull

“Jaguar Land Rover is to shed 1,000 jobs and cut production at two sites, according to reports.

The carmaker said it would make an announcement to employees on Monday regarding its production plans for 2018/19.

It added: “In light of the continuing headwinds impacting the car industry, we are making some adjustments to our production schedules and the level of agency staff.”

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Weekend Reading – 06/04/18

Weekend Reading

Improved digital connectivity is essential to the growth of freelancing and contracting in the UK. That’s why this week’s 5G auction, and the ensuing bidding war, is good news for all concerned. We take a look at that, and some other topics of interest, in this week’s Weekend Reading.

O2 splashes £500m in 5G spectrum auction to remove obstacle to blockbuster float

“The mobile operator O2 has spent more than half a billion pounds to bolster its network and prepare for the introduction of 5G technology, in a vote of confidence by its Spanish owner Telefonica viewed as essential to plans for a blockbuster stock market float.

The telecoms regulator Ofcom said an auction of mobile airwaves had raised a total of £1.4bn from Britain’s four main operators.”

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