A couple of weeks on from the 2017 Autumn Budget, the dust has settled. It’s fair to say that the reaction, from a contracting perspective at least, was mixed. On the one hand, the government took a big step closer towards extending its much-maligned clampdown on IR35 into the private sector. On the other, there was a clear effort at a more conciliatory approach towards the flexible working market than many expected. The immediate tax hikes and Draconian reform of previous years were replaced by a stream of consultations and discussion documents. An unsteady half step forward, then, rather than one giant leap back.
Below we’ve rounded up our favourite reaction pieces from the past fortnight. We’ve put a brief summary for each, but do click the links to access the full pieces if you have the time. All are well worth a read. Whilst we’re here, we’d like to know your thoughts too. What did you make of November’s announcement? Positive? Negative? Indifferent? Let us know in the comments below.
“The biggest news to come out of the Autumn Budget for contractors was the highly anticipated consultation into IR35 in the private sector. Despite the chaos caused by the public sector reforms, the Chancellor insists that compliance has increased as a result.
The consultation will consider an extension of the rules into the private sector and will be published next year. With the livelihood of thousands of contingent workers under threat, contractors are advised to waste no time making their voices heard in challenging the inevitable proposal.”
“Commenting on today’s announcements, Martin Hesketh, CEO of Brookson Group added:
“We are pleased that the Government don’t appear to be planning on proceeding with any changes in the short term and seem to have listened to stakeholders’ concerns that a similar change to that seen in the Public Sector could result in significant damage to the flexible labour market, and ultimately the goal to achieve a dynamic and innovative UK economy.”
“…the government vows to publish a discussion paper as part of its response to the Taylor Review.
The paper will “explore the case and options for longer-term reform to make the employment status tests for both employment rights and tax clearer.”
Maintaining the same more considerate tone it struck in explaining the off-payroll announcement (above), the Treasury then says:
“The government recognises that this is an important and complex issue, and so will work with stakeholders to ensure that any potential changes are considered carefully.”
“The Budget document only becomes available once the speech has finished. A quick scan revealed IR35 hadn’t been completely forgotten, but it been kicked down the road. The government will consult on private sector non-compliance with IR35, but it will also consider the impact on the public sector, something IPSE has been calling for.”
“The Chancellor also promised investment to help people retrain. This is a welcome acknowledgment that investing in new skills is essential for keeping pace with the changing nature of work. This will entail a government consultation on extending the scope of tax relief available to the self-employed – as well as employees – for work-related training costs.”
InTouch – Autumn Budget: Real Contractors get a green light to increase productivity from a Budget made to measure?
“Genuine freelancers and contractors should be delighted with the Autumn Budget. There is more good news than bad. Enjoy the nil or lower rates of Stamp duty if you are a first time buyer up to £500,000, enjoy the many ‘new gigs’ created by the Brexit alternative outcomes fund, huge investment in 5G, R&D and Artificial Intelligence technologies and take the lower dividend allowances in your stride.”
City A.M. – Autumn Budget 2017 UK: Why it was very good news if you’re self-employed, a freelancer, consultant or contractor
“Freelancers, consultants and the high-earning self-employed can breath a sigh of relief after today’s Budget – for now at least.
Philip Hammond did not pull tough new measures out of his big red box that would have seen them pay more tax as many expected.
Instead, the chancellor has taken a more softly softly approach that has been welcomed by business groups, consulting on the matter instead of launching straight in with new measures.”