Budget 2018: Contractor Preview

Budget 2018

Fright Night for Contractors and Freelancers?

It’s that time of the year again. No, not Halloween. The Budget. But that’s not to say that there won’t be a few scares in the Chancellor’s big red box come 29th October. So what might leave contractors and freelancers waking up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night this time around?

Firstly, the fact this year’s Budget is a little earlier than normal (it normally takes place in mid-to-late November) has set a few alarms bells ringing.

It could be nothing, and it may well be an attempt to get ‘distractions’ out of the way before pressing on with the real business of Brexit, but there is speculation that an early Budget date has been put in place in order to give the government time to perfect the launch of the heavily rumoured private sector IR35 reforms.

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Jaguar Land Rover: Brexit Threatens our Investment Plans for UK

Jaguar Land Rover Archery

In the latest sign that Brexit might upset the apple cart more than we’ve been led to believe, Jaguar Land Rover chief executive Ralf Speth today warned that a “bad” Brexit deal would have serious ramifications for the company’s £80bn investment plans for the UK.

Crucially, JLR is one of the single biggest employers of contractor workers in the country. The prospect of curtailing their UK operation as a result of Brexit, therefore, would have severe implications for a large number of contractors currently working there.

Though JLR, owned by India’s Tata Motors, have been at pains to state that their “heart and soul is in the UK” it noted that without frictionless trade its UK investment plans would be in “jeopardy”.

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How has the Gig Economy Changed the Working World?

Gig Economy

There have been few economic debates in recent years as fevered and corybantic as the one surrounding the status of the gig economy.

Does it mark a new dawn of employment, a step-forward in individual autonomy which gives workers previously untold freedoms? Or is it little more than an unwelcome pariah, consuming entire industries and doing more harm than good?

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The Inexorable Growth of Self-Employment in the UK

Self Employment

Uncertainty in and around the UK economy has been brewing for some time now. Whether it’s the looming prospect of Brexit, the fear of jobs moving abroad, or the rise of automation and AI, the news in recent years hasn’t been particularly positive.

However, one thing is often ignored – the growth in self-employment. With the nature of work in a state of flux, we’ve seen contractors and freelancers come in and redefine the previously linear notion of employment.

According to data from the ONS, by May 2017 there were 4.8 million self-employed people in the UK – 15% of all people in work. But what does the future hold?

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BBC Caught up in IR35 Fiasco

BBC IR35

All the hand-wringing and toing-and-froing about IR35 reform has taken a darker turn in recent days with the revelation that an unnamed BBC presenter tried to kill herself as a result of stress brought on by pay deal wrangling with the public broadcaster.

In evidence presented to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, the anonymous presenter said that she and a number of other colleagues were pressured into setting up personal service companies (PSCs) which subsequently fell foul of HMRC, leading to eye-watering bills for unpaid taxes.

The presenter in question felt forced to set up a PSC in 2011, despite realising that she would lose out financially as a result. As noted by the Guardian: “When controversy over the arrangement blew up in 2017, she said she then had to work on three-month contracts with “no sick pay, no holiday, no permanent contract” opposite a better-paid male staff member who enjoyed those benefits.”

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Spring Statement 2018: What Should Contractors Expect?

Spring Statement 2018

With the Spring Statement less than a week away (13th March, to be precise) it’s time to take a look at what exactly it might hold for contractors. Regular readers of this blog (and the self-employed in general) will be aware that previous Budgets and Statements, for a few years now, have been unduly weighted towards penalising contractors and freelancers. Will this year be any different?

IR35 in the Private Sector

That, of course, is a question that remains near impossible to answer at this point in time. But we can speculate. In last November’s Autumn Budget the Chancellor moved to put a consultation in place for the extension of the previous April’s public sector IR35 reforms into the private sector.

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Is there a gender divide in contracting?

Gender Divide

The number of independent professionals — be they contractors or freelancers — is certainly on the rise in recent years, with more and more people declaring themselves self-employed. But is there a gender divide when it comes to contracting and, if so, why might that be?

As we recently reported, there is a growing number of women taking to freelancing, with roughly 40% of freelancers identifying as female. Contracting is a slightly different story, however. Figures from across different sectors back in 2014, including IT and financial services, suggest around one in five contractors were women. Although we know numbers have grown in the last couple of years, they are not growing at the same pace as female freelancers — something we at Kingsbridge can attest to.

So why are women favouring freelancing over contracting? This could be down to a couple of reasons that perhaps demonstrate more ingrained gender divides across UK employment in general.

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The Sharing Economy: The Future of Contracting?

Sharing Economy

Between bitter leadership contests, attempted coups, police shootings, and a series of appalling terrorist attacks it’s no surprise that some things get lost in the news cycle of today. As such, you could be forgiven for missing the current upheaval surrounding the so-called ‘Sharing Economy’ and the brewing media-storm around the rights of those who choose to work within its borders.

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Contractor Contracts: Risks for Recruitment Companies

Insurance Risk

It used to be the case that once you’d found the right person for a position then your duty as a recruiter was complete. You and your end client would move onto fulfilling the next role, but as terms become more and more onerous in the contract space there’s a few important points regarding insurance that you need to be aware of.

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