As Labour Holds Its Annual Conference, Will Contractors Be Front And Centre?
The Labour Party has returned to Manchester for the annual conference, set this time to the backdrop of the recent referendum on Scottish independence. Amidst the fall out from the vote, however, lobbying is taking place to further encourage the party’s decision makers to take a serious look at how freelancers and contractors are considered from a policy standpoint.
The Labour Finance and Industry Group is leading these calls to put the needs of the growing number of people calling themselves self-employed at the heart of economic planning. The aim is to create a policy framework dedicated to developing political infrastructure that truly caters towards Britain’s burgeoning contracting community.
Dave Wilton, Business Development Manager at Umbrella gave us some insight into the ideas behind the Group’s thinking: “The number of freelancers and contracting personnel in the UK is growing. Although industry figures vary, there are currently something like 5.4million people working in outsourced public service capacities in the UK. There are also some 1.8 million people classed definitively as ‘freelance’ by the ONS in 2013. These numbers need genuine policy attention, and that is what the Labour Finance and Industry Group is aiming at.”
“The ideal would be to create some kind of Charter that acts as the bedrock of policy formation working to enshrine freelance and contracting personnel into any future economic framework under a Labour Government. Suggested elements to the Charter include a Minister with direct responsibility for contractors and the wider contracting industry.”
“Of acute interest will be plans to develop a holding company option for freelancers and contractors to embrace. This vehicle will reduce the negative burdens carried by the unwieldy and unpopular IR35. Effectively the holding company – offered with a working title of Special Freelancer Limited Company (FLTD) – helps to create clarity in taxation terms by identifying one sole income generator as a ‘freelancer’, and distinguishing this contractor subset from the wider, SME business world.”
“Obviously the implementation of these measures is not a given, and any successful move to see these initiatives enacted in policy would likely require a Labour victory at 2015’s General Election. Still, it is good to see that contractors are being taken seriously, and finally deserving of thought-out policy work by a major UK political player.”
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