We all grow up (eventually). There comes a time when we have to move on to bigger and better things. Since we formed Kingsbridge in 2001 we’ve grown year on year. We’ve moved from a small barn in the middle of the countryside to having offices in several major UK cities. We opened our first London hub earlier this year. But we still haven’t finished.
It already seems like a lifetime since the Chancellor presented his controversial Spring Budget last Wednesday. It’s fair to say that Mr. Hammond probably feels a good few years older this week than last, but breaking a set-in-stone manifesto promise and incurring the combined wrath of the national press and Britain’s many million strong army of self-employed will do that to you. Of course, his announcement that Class 4 NIC payments for the self-employed will rise by 2% up to 11% by 2019 has since been reversed in one of the more embarrassing political u-turns of recent times, but doubts still remain.
Recently we saw this article on The Guardian’s website about the Mums Enterprise Roadshow and, what with it being International Women’s Day, it got us thinking about being a contractor and a working mum, and what that means.
To return or not to return?
Many mum’s nearing the end of their maternity leave face something of a dilemma when it comes to returning to work. If you decide to return full-time, you have the excessive costs of full-time childcare to deal with. If you decide to return part-time or on a flexible basis, you may find your employer less amenable, and that’s if they accept your flexible working request at all.
“Since a politician never believes what he says, he is quite surprised to be taken at his word,” Charles de Gaulle once noted. Although the principle isn’t quite the same in this case, it would seem that Phillip Hammond might be quite surprised at the disappointed reaction to his announcement that Class 4 NIC payments for the self-employed will rise by 2% up to 11% by 2019.
Why the consternation? Hammond’s announcement is a direct volte-face of a previous Tory manifesto commitment made by his predecessor as Chancellor, George Osborne. In fact, as Chuka Umunna noted on Twitter during the Budget announcement, the 2015 Conservative manifesto promised four times not to raise National Insurance.
2017 stands as something of an anomaly on the important political announcement front – the one and only time that there will be two Budgets in a single year. As noted by the Chancellor last November, the Autumn Statement has now ceased to be. Tomorrow’s spring Budget will be the last of its kind (for the foreseeable future at least), replaced by a yearly autumn Budget (commencing in autumn of this year), followed from 2018 onwards by a Spring Statement.
Confusing? Yes. A good idea? Definitely. By holding the Budget in the autumn it will allow for major tax changes to occur annually, well before the start of the fiscal year. The Spring Statement will then exist to respond to OBR forecasts, but will not be a major fiscal event in itself.
So what should contractors expect tomorrow? As always, it’s impossible to truly predict what will happen (take last year’s Autumn Statement as an unwelcome example) but there are a few key pointers to look out for. We don’t expect to see anything dramatic given that there will only be a 6 month gap between Budgets (not to mention the fact that the Government’s self-imposed 31st March deadline to begin the formal Brexit process is arriving at a startling pace) but there’s always room for a surprise or two. What do we already know, and what would we like to see? Read on below for our observations.
When you’re an employee, the company you work for usually takes responsibility for environmental commitments and policies, but as a contractor, you need to set your own green agenda if you want to do your bit for the planet.
Obviously, various clients will have their own green initiatives within their premises for you to adhere to, but what to do the rest of the time? We’ve put together some practical ideas you could implement if you want to be a green contractor.
Most contractors will agree that bookkeeping is their least favourite part of the job. The one bonus of being an employee was that someone else sorted out expenses, tax, National Insurance and everything else but now the onus is firmly on you.
With the 2016/2017 tax year coming to an end it’s a little late to start improving your books this time around, but we’re here to help you be better for 2017/2018, since it’s just around the corner. Read on below for our tips on how to improve your bookkeeping (whatever your budget).
April’s IR35 changes have been looming large in the rear view mirror for some time now. With the self-assessment deadline having come and gone at the end of January, the focus of the contracting community has now fallen firmly upon Philip Hammond’s Spring Budget on 8th March, followed swiftly by the much-maligned changes in IR35 status for personal service company contractors in the public sector that are due to come into force from 6th April 2017. If labyrinthine policy change doesn’t fill you with vernal optimism, then we’re not sure what will.
Late last year we introduced you to a few new members of the Kingsbridge team. For the nostalgic among you, that post can be revisited here. Fast forward three months and there are plenty of new faces in our Tewkesbury HQ. So many, in fact, that we’re running out of space.
With another successful year behind us, and plans for many more successful years ahead, having the right staff in place is a fundamental catalyst for the growth we expect to see. Below, meet (deep breath): Barley Spurway, Sophia Chance-Hyett, George Bingle, Anna Cullimore, Julian Short, Mike Halliwell, and Chloe Delgado-Chance.
Name: Barley Spurway
Job Role: Business Development Executive
About: Barley joined Kingsbridge in November 2016, having previously worked in the recruitment industry. Barley forms an integral part of our Business Development team, using the knowledge she acquired in her previous role to bring in new partners, as well as speaking to the recruiters we deal with on a daily basis.
Kingsbridge are delighted to announce that we’ve opened new offices in the heart of London. Situated in Moorgate, we’ve taken space in one of WeWork’s co-working office hubs. WeWork have a number of thriving office communities with a focus on freelancers, start-ups, and tech businesses.
Not only does WeWork afford the Kingsbridge London team the opportunity to work in a contemporary and flexible environment, it also positions us right at the bustling centre of an insurance hub and in a place where a large number of our partners and customers work.
Going forward we will be looking to grow our team further in London as Kingsbridge continues its expansion at pace. Our London base will also act as a nerve centre for our existing team – both those who already work in the city, and those coming up from our other offices for meetings and events.
In addition to our own staff, we’re more than happy for our partners to come by, visit, and grab a desk if they need to. With free beer on tap from 3pm, we’re better equipped to serve and accommodate visitors than ever before.
We’re thrilled to have laid our first foundations in the country’s most important city, and look forward to continued success and growth in the months and years ahead.