Much ink has been spilled, including by us here at Kingsbridge HQ, about the all new single party Tory government that few of us were expecting for the next five years. One of the key concerns for contractors, of course, is what policies the party will introduce that support the working life and growth of the independent professional sector.
However, of equal concern are the ministers that hold strategically important positions for contractors. Those that understand and appreciate the unique position that contractors hold in the landscape of modern British business and can advocate on their behalf are a necessity if independent professionals are to flourish and continue to play an important role in the UK’s economic recovery.
Here we’re going to take a look at some of the ministers that will play a significant role in the working lives of contractors for the next five years of Conservative government.
Secretary of State for Business – Sajid Javid
MP for Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, Sajid Javid was appointed Secretary of State for Business in the days following the election. Javid had previously filled the role of Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport from April 2014 to May 2015. Prior to his career in politics he had worked in banking and finance, becoming Vice President for Chase Manhattan Bank at the age of just 25.
Javid’s role as Secretary of State for Business will see him take overall responsibility for business law, consumer issues, enterprise and employment relations, as well as the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills’ (BIS) strategic direction and policy making. Javid has been an outspoken critic of the late payment culture that exists in the contracting.
IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed welcomed the appointment of Javid. IPSE Chief Executive Chris Bryce commented, “Mr Javid has consistently shown an understanding and appreciation of the value of small businesses to the UK economy and we look forward to engaging with him on behalf of the UK’s 4.5 million self-employed.”
Minister for Small Business – Anna Soubry
The Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise, Anna Soubry MP for Broxtowe, is tasked with ensuring competitiveness and economic growth among the small business sector. A newly created post, the need to focus on a sector that employs over 15 million working people in the UK, with a combined annual turnover of £1.6 trillion, was hotly anticipated prior to the election.
Of course, the smallest businesses are single person limited companies run by contractors. Independent professionals set up as businesses still very much need to be considered and supported in any small business concessions made by the new Tory government, as they have historically been left out.
IPSE chief Bryce expressed the need for this new role to cover the growing number of contractors in the UK, “With 4.5 million people working for themselves in the UK we hope that the Minister’s brief will also contain the self-employed who are vital to the UK’s economy.”
Self-employment ambassador, David Morris MP, reappointed
A key position in the cabinet for contractors and freelancers is the self-employment ambassador. It was announced last week that Conservative MP for Morecombe and Lunesdale David Morris has been reappointed in the position. This is strategically important as the main emphasis of this position is to advocate on behalf of the nations’ self-employed community – a single focus that has been lacking in government in previous years.
Morris himself was a self-employed businessman for a number of years before his election to parliament and so has a unique understanding of the particular issues faced by the contracting community. His work during the coalition government has been praised by IPSE, and coupled with the appointment of Anna Soubry, seems to provide reassurance to contractors and freelancers that the new Tory government plans on rolling out much more robust and comprehensive measures to both protect and support the country’s independent professionals.
Will the new Tory majority government prove to be beneficial to contractors and the self-employed? It may well be too soon to tell, but these early appointments of experienced ministers seems to be a sign that the Conservative party no longer plan to ignore contractors in their race to become known as the party of business.