It’s not often that a serene weekday evening at the end of March produces a football match for the ages. But then it’s not often that the mighty Kingsbridge Casuals face-up to close rivals 1st Option FC. The leafy confines of Stratford-upon-Avon provided a suitably deceptive location for a thunderous battle between two evenly-matched sides (on paper, at least.) Were it not for the unfortunate lack of substitutes on the 1st Option bench it’s likely that proceedings would have been closer, but after a promising start the match ended a one-sided affair: 15 – 8 to the men in yellow and black.
‘Tis the season for indecent amounts of chocolate and an apparently endless array of terrible, egg-based puns. Not being ones to miss out on the fun, we’ve decided to double down on both.
Between now and Thursday 13th April we’re giving away a free personalised Easter egg with every policy purchase made online or over the phone. It couldn’t be easier to egg-splain – simply complete your purchase as normal, and you’ll receive your very own Easter egg in the post a few days later. Why not whisk it?
You can purchase your insurance on our website here. Alternatively, you can give one of our eggs-pert Customer Service Advisors a call on 01242 808740.
If you had a “normal” nine-to-five, you’d be joyously gearing up now for the spring Bank Holiday “season”. Easter is rapidly approaching with Good Friday and Easter Monday as days off for most employees (we even know some people who get a half-day on the Thursday), followed by the Early May Bank Holiday on 1 May and the Spring Bank Holiday on 29 May. That’s four extra paid days off within roughly six weeks of each other.
However, you don’t have a “normal” nine-to-five. You’re a contractor or a freelancer, which means there are four days coming up where it seems you either have to work when everyone else is off (including your partner and kids), or take the time off and just not get paid.
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).