Our Budget reaction: What impact will it have on the contractor community?

Summer Budget Reaction

The first Conservative-only Budget in 19 years took place in the House of Commons yesterday and whilst there were some positives, the Tories announced a number of changes which will undoubtedly affect contractors in a negative way, with contractor dividends, expenses, and IR35 among the areas targeted by the Chancellor.

Chris Bryce, CEO of IPSE, noted: “The combination of the action on dividends, clamping down on travel and subsistence and potentially toughening up IR35 legislation could leave many contractors feeling pretty sore.”

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What changes would contractors like to see under the new Conservative government?

David Cameron

The official State Opening of Parliament took place on Wednesday 27th May, with the Queen’s Speech outlining the new Tory government’s agenda and proposed legislation for the upcoming parliamentary session.

Just over a month into their new five year term in government all eyes in the contracting community are focused firmly on what pre-election promises Cameron’s Conservatives are likely to come good on. In this blog we’re going to look at some of the most important aspects of working life in the UK that will make a contractors life easier, more secure and more profitable.

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Cameron’s cabinet reshuffle: key ministers for contractors

Sajid Javid

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.

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Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance

Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance

We’ve got some exciting news from Kingsbridge HQ. From today we’ll be known as Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance. If you currently hold a policy with us you don’t need to worry – nothing is changing apart from our name and website address. You’ll still get all the familiar benefits, the same excellent customer service, and the unbeatable, comprehensive insurance cover. You can now find us online at kingsbridge.co.uk.

Why the change? Since our very first day we’ve always been fully committed to contractors and independent professionals, and we wanted to reaffirm that commitment by changing the most visible part of our business: our name.

Since we formed Kingsbridge in 2007 we’ve seen the contractor community grow from strength to strength, and we’re proud to have been a part of that. As the contractor marketplace continues to develop, we’ll be there with our experience and our expertise, providing you with the insurance cover you’ll need to protect yourself in business. As always, if you need to discuss insurance, or if you have any questions about working as a contractor or an independent professional, we’d be happy to hear from you. You can contact us on 01242 362176, at info@kingsbridge.co.uk, or on Twitter @KingsbridgeCI.

Getting accredited: the benefits of professional memberships

Accreditation

Trust is a remarkable thing, especially in the world of contracting. If a client trusts you and the quality of your work then you build a reputation as a trustworthy professional and this can do wonders for your career and the opportunities to which you are exposed.

During the course of your career as a contractor you may have considered joining a professional body and becoming accredited as a way of further cementing client trust in your work.  You may have already done so as a result of certain, industry specific legislation, or you may be considering doing so for the business benefits. In this blog we’re going to look at some of the ways that becoming an accredited contractor can add value to your business.

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Ten of the Greatest Engineering Feats

Engineering Feats

This one’s for all the engineers out there. Sometimes we tend to take the amazing things around us for granted. We often forget that people are capable of momentous achievements, whether individually or together. To pay tribute to those men and women who put some of the greatest construction feats ever into action, we’ve designed an infographic showcasing what it took to build each one. Did you know, for example, that the Panama Canal took 34 years to construct, or that the Trans-Siberian Rail Road runs though 8 different time zones? You do now! There’s plenty more to find out about the world’s greatest engineering feats too – check out the infographic by clicking on the image above or by clicking right here.

 

Compliance a vital factor as the number of contractors continues to rise

Compliance

New figures released have indicated that the number of individuals entering the contractor and freelancer community has dramatically increased over the last 7 years.

Research published towards the end of April 2015 illustrates that there are now 1.88 million independent professionals in the UK. The study, which was carried out by Kingston University and commissioned by IPSE concludes that there has been over a 35% increase in highly skilled contractors since 2008.

Moreover, recent numbers from Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance, a specialist insurance broker for contractors and freelancers, support the fact that there is a strong growth in the importance of compliance and meeting obligations in the contracting market.

Dedicated to assisting contractors with their insurance needs, Kingsbridge have seen a strong increase in the number of contractors taking out an insurance policy with the company during 2015, clearing indicating that compliance is a significant factor.

Thomas Wynne, Head of Business Development at Kingsbridge comments: “the last few months have been phenomenal, particularly with our team reaching record policy numbers. This is a clear indication that not only is the freelancer market increasing, but, with Kingsbridge offering a comprehensive insurance cover package, our policy is meeting all of the necessary compliant requirements for contractors.”

It is highly recommended that all contractors have adequate insurance in place before undertaking any role to cover their main exposures and meet contractual obligations, and based on these recent results in the contracting market this could be an exciting and important time for Kingsbridge.

For further information about Kingsbridge and their insurance solution please visit www.kingsbridge.co.uk

Bridging the gap: the role of freelancers and contractors in solving the UK’s skills shortage

Skills Shortage

It has been well reported that the UK is the midst of a significant, and potentially disastrous, skills shortage. News reports crop up every couple of months informing us that the skills shortage list is increasing beyond what the country’s current workforce can cope with, as well as the anticipation of what negative effects this will have on the UK’s economy on a national and international scale.

A government report conducted in 2013 found that in the period 2011-2013 there were around 146,000 skills shortage vacancies in the UK, in comparison to just over 91,000 in 2011. With the number of skilled, qualified and experienced candidates for jobs in key sectors such as engineering, IT and construction seemingly on the decline, the problem is not difficult to see. But what about a solution?

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General Election 2015 – Surprise Tory gains lead Cameron to second term

General Election 2015

David Cameron remains the UK’s Prime Minister, with his Conservative party having made unprecedented gains across the country in last night’s General Election and securing a majority that nobody expected.

7th May was a night of victory for Cameron, as well as Scottish Nationalist Party leader Nicola Sturgeon, who saw her party secure an impressive 56 of the 59 Scottish seats in Westminster, effectively ending Labour’s dominance in the region and serving a huge blow to Labour’s ambitions nationally.

It was an overwhelmingly disappointing night for Labour leader Ed Miliband. Lead-up polls suggested a much better performance by Labour than actually transpired. From the announcement of those damning exit poll numbers, the evening grew worse for the younger Miliband. He resigned as leader on 8th May, congratulating Cameron and thanking his team, activists and the newly emerging “Milifandom”.

Miliband’s was not the only resignation of this most extraordinary election. Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, stood down as leader of the party after they suffered one of the most crushing defeats in recent British political history, describing it as a “cruel and punishing night for the Liberal Democrats”. They will send only 8 MPs to Westminster now, a significant drop from the 57 they secured in 2010.

Despite amassing millions of votes, the UK Independence Party failed to secure more seats. They held their seat in Clacton but leader Nigel Farage failed to win the South Thanet seat from the Tories and resigned soon after, before ‘unresigning’ a few days later.

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The insurance products no engineer can afford to forget

Engineering Insurance

We understand that when you’re freelancing, you want to focus on the job at hand and creating the best work possible. Sometimes, insurance products don’t come at the top of your to-do list and can seem like an unnecessary expense.

However, if you’re a freelance engineer, you occupy a unique and interesting position when it comes to insuring yourself. Your work is based on problem solving and solution finding, and more often than not, your work product will affect the public, not just your end client. It is for that reason that gaining access to adequate insurance cover should be at the very top of your to-do list!

What’s more, many (if not all) freelance contracts stipulate that a freelancer must be covered by a minimum amount of insurance, so your future contract jobs could depend on having access to quality insurance.

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