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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Weekend Reading – 29/03/18

Contractor News

Read on for this week’s news round-up. We’re taking a look at a variety of topics, from IR35 and Brexit to the banking and finance industry:

Businesses face unanswered questions a year from Brexit – sector by sector analysis

“With only a year to go until Britain leaves the EU, a mounting backlog of unresolved problems is causing business to take evasive action – despite government attempts to buy more time with a transition deal.

More than half of large companies have already put emergency contingency plans into action, according to a survey, and in key sectors such as insurance and transport there are warnings of higher prices and disruption for customers if the fragile truce breaks down.

British and EU governments last week agreed to postpone discussions over Northern Ireland in order to provisionally agree that a 21-month transition phase could begin after March 2019, but only so long as outstanding disagreements are solved nearer the time.”

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GDPR – What does it Mean for Contractors?

GDPR Contractors

Cyber-attacks have become more prevalent than ever in the last 12 months. A recent report from the National Cyber Security Centre noted that there had been over 1,100 attacks in the UK last year, of which over half (590) were deemed significant. 30 of those attacks, a number of which were in the Financial Services Sector, required assistance from government bodies.

To put it in even starker terms, the UK deals with more than 10 significant cyber-attacks every week – and that’s only taking into account those which were reported. Unfortunately, such attacks must now be considered par for the course when it comes to business, and we need to ensure that we are all prepared to deal with them.

With the much-discussed General Data Protection Regulation (better known by its acronym GDPR) coming into force on 25th May 2018 we’re taking a look at what exactly the implications will be for contractors and freelancers. How can you make sure you’re GDPR-ready?

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Weekend Reading – 23/03/18

Kingsbridge News

We’ll be rounding up a selection of interesting stories we’ve found once a week for your reading pleasure. Click on the links below to read the full article.

Ikea rolls out nationwide assembly services with TaskRabbit

“The Swedish furniture retailer announced plans on Tuesday to roll out a program with labor marketplace TaskRabbit nationwide. Customers can book a “tasker” through TaskRabbit to assemble their Ikea furniture for a flat price depending on the size of the item.

The service is currently available in New York City and San Francisco locations and will be released in more major cities throughout the year. Customers also may signup for the service online in locations where TaskRabbit is already available.”

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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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Why was the Spring Statement so short?

Spring Statement

Although it came in at slightly over the previously estimated 20 minutes last week’s Spring Statement was still a refreshing departure from the normal bluster that surrounds political policy announcements. But why was it so trimmed down?

No major policy changes

Normally, government Budget announcements are awash with fiscal policy changes and everything from income tax to duty paid on a pint of lager can be up for a rethink. However, 2018 has seen the start of a new format, where the Spring Statement will be reserved for responses to OBR data alongside a few key updates. The Autumn Budget (which usually takes place in November) will be where all of the major financial changes will be put forward. On the whole, this was borne out yesterday with little-to-no mention of policy, other than references to reform and legislation that had already previously been announced.

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Practical tips for contractors and freelancers preparing for the end of the tax year

Practical Tips for Contractors

We know it doesn’t seem like much time has passed between the end of the last tax year and the end of this one, but we’re almost there already.

While there’s no need for you to submit your tax return immediately on 6 April, many contractors and freelancers don’t like to hang around. After all, there’s not much sense in waiting until the October and January deadlines to rush everything in.

Furthermore, if you operate on a cash in, cash out basis then your books are probably more or less good to go. So, what can contractors and freelancers do to prep for the end of the tax year and ensure submitting their 2017/2018 Self-Assessment is a breeze?

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Where can I get a Website for Free?

Top 10 Free Websites

Top 10 DIY website builders for small businesses

There used to be a time when building your own website was something you outsourced to a specialist. But these days, whether you know your Ruby from your Python or not, a great-looking site can be completed in the space of an afternoon.

As a self-employed person, it’s become ever more important to make sure that you have a visible presence online. A quick Google search is often the entry point for any organisation looking for a self-employed professional, so it pays to put the time in.

There are a vast array of free website builders out there, but the difference in ease of use and quality varies dramatically. Take a look below for our ten preferred options (in no particular order).

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Spring Statement 2018 – The Kingsbridge Reaction

Spring Statement 2018

Yesterday marked the Chancellor’s first Spring Statement. Given that we’d previously been told to expect no major policy changes or any drastic fiscal manoeuvring, the lack of any great detail wasn’t a surprise.

The contracting community were, however, expecting to see some kind of announcement on the future of potential IR35 reforms in the private sector. Although there was no mention of such reform in Mr. Hammond’s speech to the Commons, further information released afterwards confirmed that a consultation will be published later this year:

“In the coming months the Government will publish: Off-payroll working – a consultation on how to tackle non-compliance in the private sector, drawing on the experience of the public sector reform. The Government will work with businesses and individuals to mitigate the potential administrative burdens of any future changes.”

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