MP proposes IR35 reform

Friday 16 October 2015

David Morris, the MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, has used an article in local publication inTheBay to call for a new system of taxation for self-employed workers.

In news that will be of interest to those whose limited companies fall under IR35 regulations, he announced that he had attended an initial meeting with fellow Conservative MP David Graunke, who is financial secretary to the Treasury, to work on developing an alternative system to the current rules.

Precise details of how he hopes to reform IR35 are unclear, but he has promised to reveal more in a follow-up article.

The fortunes of self-employed people in the UK are becoming increasingly important to politicians, thanks to their growing numbers and their role in supporting the UK’s economic recovery. Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed that there are now more than 4.5 million self-employed workers in the UK.

Mr Morris also took the opportunity to play up his previous successes in campaigning for the self-employed, such as obtaining wider backing for plans to provide maternity leave to self-employed mothers if they can prove their income over a set period of time.

He explained: “I felt that if someone had submitted their books year on year and could prove their income they should be entitled to maternity pay.”

Another of Mr Morris’s more practical proposals has been the idea of creating a permit for anyone who drives a dedicated work vehicle. The document would allow them to park safely wherever they needed to in towns and cities if they were travelling for business purposes, to ensure that their work was not impeded by traffic regulations.

Mr Morris said: “This would allow people to take delivery and allow their businesses to flow without the fear of fines or tickets.”

The government is also preparing to create the new role of small business commissioner. One of the position’s top priorities has been tackling the issue of late payment, which can have a disproportionate impact on small businesses, particularly those who regularly deal with much larger companies.

The MP revealed he had been involved in a roundtable meeting about the new position with representatives from the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), as well as the Australian small business commissioner and members of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

Although the precise details of the role have yet to be confirmed, Mr Morris made it clear that he was keen to ensure that the process was a success, and that whoever was chosen for the job had sufficient “credibility and gravitas” to have a major impact on the commercial environment for self-employed people and other small businesses.

Mr Morris was appointed as the government’s first-ever self-employment ambassador towards the end of last year. Before entering politics, he spent 20 years as a self-employed businessman, which prompted the government to appoint him as the ambassador.

By Victoria McDonnell

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