Contractor trade bodies urge new govt to act

Monday 11 May 2015

Industry bodies have responded to the Conservative Party's victory in the General Election by urging the government to recognise the value of contractors to the economy.

Following an unexpected but decisive victory in the election, employment bodies across the UK have called on the new administration to place a focus on jobs, including the contractor sector.

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) said that a majority Government brings "stability and certainty" that is good for business.

Chris Bryce, Chief Executive of the IPSE, said he is looking forward to working with the new Government, as well as parties, to best serve the UK’s 4.5 million self-employed.

He elaborated: “IPSE has an excellent working relationship with the Conservative Party, as indicated by the appointment of an Ambassador to the self-employed. We hope the Ambassador’s role can grow into a ministerial role in the new Parliament to reflect the increasing importance of the self-employed to the UK’s economy."

Many ideas previously floated by the IPSE were included in the Conservative Party manifesto and Mr Bryce says he hopes they will now be implemented.

According to the association, a new business conciliation service would help address some of the issues stemming from late payments.

"We hope to play a leading role in contributing to reviews on how mortgages, pensions and maternity and paternity pay could work better for the self-employed in the new Parliament."

Meanwhile, the Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA) said that David Cameron's second term in office presents an opportunity to build on previous work.

However, the organisation says it it also sends a "clear reminder" to the government that it should be doing more for the growing numbers of contractors and freelancers who have helped UK plc to "get back on its feet" throughout the recession, and not penalise them.

This includes delivering on promises to help create 600,000 new start-ups a year until 2020, keep taxes low, and review support for the self-employed.

Julia Kermode, chief executive of the FCSA, urged the prime minister and his government to engage with the sector and acknowledge the value of contractors and freelancers.

"Some conservative policies simply do not recognise the value of the freelance workforce, and the ramifications of any legislation they might be considering implementing, specifically the T&S legislation, would have a negative impact on the working lives of many contractors," she explained.

She noted that Finance Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke has acknowledged the value of umbrella companies as part of the UK labour market, but that there is "still a long way to go" as they seem "intent" on penalising the contracting community.  

She concluded: "We will continue lobbying and engaging with policy makers to ensure our voice is heard by all parties.”

By Victoria McDonnell

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