When the time comes to renew your policy, we understand that you’ll often have questions. Sometimes our customers aren’t sure why they should renew, and aren’t aware of the many benefits of doing so. Over the next few posts we’ll share some of the key reasons for renewing your contractor insurance policy.
From now on, we’ll be rounding up the latest and most relevant contractor news for the contracting community once or twice a week and summarising it here on the Kingsbridge blog, making it your one-stop shop for all the latest information that’s relevant to you. Without further ado, here’s the first round up:
“HMRC confirmed at the most recent IR35 Forum meeting on 15 December 2015 that no kneejerk measures will be implemented between now and the next Budget.
HMRC was reluctant to provide any timescale with regards to its next decision over the legislation, but it has confirmed that there will be no changes to IR35 included in the Finance Act 2016, meaning no new measures will take place during the 2016/17 tax year.”
“Limited company contractors not caught by IR35 – a tax legislation designed to combat tax avoidance by workers supplying their services to clients via an intermediary – can still claim travel and subsistence tax relief.”
“Many people choose to become a freelancer or start their own business to have more control over their schedule and enjoy a better work-life balance. A new study has now suggested that freelancers get so much gratification from their job that they are happier the busier they are.
Researchers from the University of Leicester and the University of London looked at the work schedule of 45 freelance workers over a six-month period. The study, published in the SAGE journal Human Relations, found that their wellbeing fluctuated in-line with their schedule.”
“The number of self-employed contractors in the UK has reached an all-time high. This is according to the latest figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which show that the UK’s self-employed headcount rose above 4.6m in the three months leading to October, reflecting a 71k increase year-on-year and a 94k improvement on the previous quarter.” (Contractor Calculator).”
“The Government has revealed further details concerning plans to request quarterly tax returns from contractors over the coming years. In a document titled: ‘Making tax digital’, HMRC highlights that quarterly tax returns are set to be implemented from April 2018, as part of its new digital tax initiative.” (Contractor Calculator).
“On 11 December 2015 we issued a briefing looking at the key points and likely problems with the draft travel and subsistence legislation released on 9 December 2015, and on 14 December 2015 we looked at how umbrella models would be affected. Those were the first two briefings in a series of briefings about the draft legislation.
In this third of four briefings we comment on the impact of the proposals on users and suppliers of personal service company contractors (“PSCs”).”
Today saw the release of the Draft Finance Bill 2016. After an Autumn Statement surprisingly devoid of any mention of changes to IR35 rules, despite significant pre-Statement speculation to the contrary, most members of the contracting community expected to see changes announced in today’s draft Bill. However, IR35 was once again conspicuous by its absence.
Any proposals for change that may have been happening behind government walls are staying there for the time being. The Draft Finance Bill did include the changes to tax relief on Travel and Subsistence expenses where a contract is inside IR35 that were announced in the Autumn Statement. However, the lack of any IR35 reform suggests the government took heed of the advice of the stakeholders they consulted, as well as the overwhelmingly negative reaction to the proposed changes from the contracting community as a whole.
In a letter received by Nick Holmes, CEO of Umbrella.co.uk, and timed to coincide with the release of the Draft Finance Bill, the Chancellor stated: “We will be considering this issue carefully before taking any further decisions. Should any further changes be introduced they would be subject to detailed consultation before publishing any draft legislation.”
Whether this means that the Government are simply biding their time, or whether they have abandoned their plans for IR35 reform altogether, remains to be seen. It seems now that all eyes have moved to the next Budget statement on 16th March 2016.
A note from Steve Wynne, Kingsbridge CEO:
The growth and success of the Kingsbridge group is one of my greatest achievements in life. In turn, I believe that one of the most important parts of running a successful business is giving back to those who need help most. With Kingsbridge having been involved in the water industry in one form or another for more than 25 years, WaterAid is a charity close to my heart.
Kingsbridge began working with WaterAid in 2008, and since then we’ve contributed over £37,000 to their ongoing work in Nepal by donating some of the profits from our business. Our donations have helped to change thousands of lives and have left a lasting legacy in global communities through access to clean, safe water.
Today we’re publicising the presentation of our latest cheque to WaterAid. We’re not doing this to give ourselves a pat on the back, but to draw attention to the brilliant work WaterAid do. Philanthropy has always been a cornerstone of the Kingsbridge business in all its forms, and we plan to continue our strong support as our business continues to grow.
The need for access to clean water in Nepal is greater than ever after the devastating earthquake that hit the region earlier this year. Over 3.3 million people in the country don’t have access to safe water, and over 17 million people (more than half of the entire population) don’t have access to adequate sanitation. 1,927 children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. It’s facts like these that we want to consign to history, and our donations go some way towards equipping WaterAid in the fight to give the people of Nepal the basic quality of life all humans deserve.
We’ll be embarking on further fundraising initiatives in collaboration with WaterAid in the near future, and we’ll be publicising our efforts both on the Kingsbridge blog and in an area of the Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance website dedicated to corporate social responsibility. We’ll also be posting a presentation on the blog from WaterAid shortly about the impact our support has had on their projects across the globe.
You can read more about WaterAid’s work in Nepal here, and you can donate to them here. Every £1 you donate to WaterAid’s Deliver Life appeal between 10th November 2015 and 10th February 2016 will be doubled (up to £5 million) by the UK government.
The challenge is to make sure those in need have access to the things we take for granted – clean water, toilets, and hygiene. I believe that challenge begins with a simple gesture: a donation to those who can help.
Despite numerous rumours to the contrary over the past few weeks, professional contractors broadly came out of the 2015 Autumn Statement unscathed (for now at least). Recent reports from HM Treasury had suggested that contractors would no longer be able to work for a single client for an uncapped period and would have to move onto the payroll after one month, but no mention was made of this in the Chancellor’s speech or in the ‘blue book’ released immediately afterwards.
It seems likely that any proposals for changes to IR35 legislation will be pushed back to April 2017. A press release from APSCo, circulated shortly after the conclusion of the Autumn Statement, stated: “It appears that, following the overwhelming negative response from business as a whole and a rigorous press and lobbying campaign by APSCo, the Government has chosen to think more carefully about the unintended consequences of the proposals.”
Samantha Hurley, Head of External Relations and Compliance at APSCo, followed up by saying:
“Of course, the lack of an announcement in the Autumn Statement doesn’t mean that the Government won’t go forward with this proposal in the future, but it does almost certainly mean that it won’t come into effect in April, 2016, which is what we feared.”
Wednesday 25th November will be a big day for the contracting community. George Osborne will be delivering the first purely Conservative Autumn Statement. Following on from a summer Budget which wasn’t exactly contractor friendly, it’s heavily rumoured that the Chancellor will be addressing the contentious issue of IR35 – either offering a proposal for further reform, or at very least the introduction of further consultation. Of course, despite all the speculation, what will actually be said currently remains unknown.
It seems as though changes will be announced that will see PSC contractors no longer being able to work for a single client for an uncapped amount of time. Although earlier rumours suggested that contractors would be obliged to move onto the payroll of their client after one month of work, it now seems that will not be the case as long as they pass a new version of the ESI test. However, who must decide whether or not the contractor is inside IR35 (i.e. which contractual party will stop proceedings as early as four weeks in) remains unclear.
Join us from 9am on Wednesday 25th as we live Tweet the Autumn Statement, followed by our reaction later in the day and an in depth look at exactly what kind of impact the current Conservative government has had on the contracting community.
A little while ago we wrote about Professional Indemnity insurance – what it is, why you need it, and what a claim against you might look like. Today we’re presenting the second installment of the series and discussing Public Liability Insurance.
What is it?
This one is simple to explain, and a necessary part of any insurance package. Public liability insurance will cover you and your business for any inconvenience you may cause a customer or client. If damage is caused or goods are lost while work is being carried out then you’ll be covered.
One of the most common questions we get asked at Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance is ‘Why do I need insurance?’ Let us explain.
No matter your industry, if you work as an independent contractor you’re providing your client with your services or your professional advice. If, during the course of your work, you make a mistake or an error that has an effect on your client or their business then they are well within their rights to make a claim against you. Because of this you’ll need to have the relevant insurances. Having the right insurance in place when a costly claim is made can be the difference between keeping you in business and having to shut your business down, something that could have a negative impact if you want to work as a contractor again in the future.
As you’ve seen on the blog in the past few weeks, we’ve been revisiting some of our favourite posts from the past year that you may have missed. We’ll be beginning original programming again shortly, but this week we wanted to draw your attention to one of our favourite infographics – the story of fracking in the UK.
There has been a slow-burning but very real concern rising in the UK due to the impending energy crisis. The threat of power cuts has been highlighted due to falling electricity margins, along with the need for the UK to pursue more renewable energy strategies. This has led to much ink being spilled in the British press on the issue of hydraulic fracturing – commonly known as fracking.
Fracking is the process of harvesting shale gas, deposits of which are found trapped in shale rock deep underground. A high pressure mix of water and chemicals is shot down specially drilled wells with the aim of releasing the gas.
There have been a great number of discussions about the safety of fracking; with some saying it poses a threat to the purity of drinking water, while others highlight fracking as the only real, actionable solution to Britain’s fuel shortage. Whatever the case, it’s fair to say that fracking has divided the opinion of the British public and is set to dominate the discussion around energy production for a significant amount of time.
We have decided to take a look at the story of fracking, and the pros and cons it offers the British energy industry by producing a scrolling infographic, taking in the past, present and future of fracking in the UK.
We’re taking another look at IR35 on the Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance blog today. This week – should you get your contract reviewed for IR35 compliance?
IR35 is the legislation on everyone’s lips and it’s a subject that we have covered a number of times. Since its passing into law in 2000, it’s been a priority for freelancers and contractors to make sure they don’t get caught in the IR35 net.
Some professional organisations now offer independent reviews of your contracts that check for IR35 compliance, giving you the peace of mind from the outset that you are not at risk of being caught out. This week, we’re going to investigate if these contract reviews are really worth it for independent professionals today.