IPSE manifesto calls for new policies to support self-employed

Friday 26 May 2017

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-employed (IPSE) has launched its new manifesto ahead of the general election, calling for a range of new policies to support people working for themselves across the UK.

Entitled A Contract with the Self-employed, the document calls for self-employment defined in law in order to prevent exploitation and maintain a positive opinion on flexible work. Other areas of interest include fair parental benefits for mothers and fathers and better control of the damages arising from changes to IR35

Manifesto policies include developing a detailed pensions solution for self-employed staff and making training tax-deductible. This is in order to encourage professional development and progression and give those working for themselves the same benefits as full-time staff. 

IPSE emphasises that the self-employed workforce makes up 15 per cent of the UK’s total workforce and helps to produce £225 billion of goods and services every year. 

As part of the manifesto, the organisation also wants to see a strong Small Business Commissioner to tackle poor business practice, covering issues such as late payment. These individuals should also be able to demand parties attend mediation before the legal process starts. 

Workhubs should also become a priority for the government, IPSE recommends. It wants these spaces to become key areas for people to collaborate in order to act as an incubator for start-ups. These areas should also benefit from lower business rates in order to encourage self-employed professionals to use them. 

In order for young people to gain a better understanding of working for themselves, IPSE wants self-employment and enterprise to be incorporated into the school curriculum by adding it to the Life Skills module in primary and secondary education. 

Tax is another key part of the manifesto, with the organisation calling for a bespoke tax system for freelancers, where they would be regarded as Freelancer Limited Companies. It believes this would safeguard government revenue and make their employment status clearer.

To improve Making Tax Digital, IPSE wants it to be made mandatory in 2025 at the earliest and only offered on a voluntary basis until then. To ensure the rollout is efficient, it calls for larger businesses to be targeted first and wants to end quarterly reporting. 

The group urges the government to not raise National Insurance, highlighting that attempts to increase contributions at the last Budget were negatively received by self-employed professionals and MPs. 
On top of this, IPSE believes HMRC should be relieved of their responsibilities for making tax policy and should instead devote time to concentrating on enforcement and handling enquiries from taxpayers.  

By Victoria McDonnell

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