Tag Archive | "Brexit"

NO Tax Cut for Contractors Says Chancellor

If you are a contractor in the UK then you probably want to pay less tax. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like there will be a tax cut any time soon.

That is according to the chancellor Philip Hammond, who recently banged his fist down on the table and demanded…NO tax cut for contractors!

This news will no doubt come as a shock to the millions of contractors, freelancers, gig workers, and self employed employed people around the country, because if you remember, it was only a few months ago that Mr Hammond said we would do “whatever we have to do” when Brexit takes place in order to stay competitive.

Many experts thought he meant a tax drop would be on the cards, in a bid to attract highly skilled contractors to relocate on a permanent basis to the UK, but it appears this is not what he meant.

Instead, there will be no tax cuts and no attempts to get one over on our European neighbours. It actually seems that everybody is getting on really well right now, as the Brexit negotiation take place and the European leaders try to work this whole thing out.

So everybody is friends at the moment and it’s all smiles…but how long will that last? Not long in my opinion, and if our soon to be ex European partners try to pull a fast one in the negotiation room, then it wouldn’t surprise me if Philip Hammond starts to talk about tax cuts once again.

Is it really fair that the chancellor is using UK contractors as pawns though? A few months ago he got everyone’s hopes up with all this talk about less tax, and then, without a moments hesitation he changes his mind and acts like nothing ever happened.

Meanwhile, the millions of hard working self employed people are let down once again. Is it any wonder that the Conservatives lost votes at the recent General Election? I don’t think so.

It had a lot to do with the senseless tax grab the chancellor tried to get away with if you ask me, and that is why many people stayed away or voted elsewhere at the election.

Well, if people were not impressed with the tax grab, something tells me those people (and even more) are not going to be impressed about the chancellor promising a tax cut and then backtracking only a few months later.

A tax cut might have been a bit of pie in the sky anyway, with one political correspondent saying that due to the Conservatives losing seats in Parliament then getting a bill passed for less tax would probably be a struggle.

Wouldn’t it be great that instead of politicians, we had contractors and business owners in Parliament making the decisions? I’m sure the tax rate would quickly go down, and millions of self employed would enjoy filling out their tax return every year.

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Demand for IT Contractors Strong in May

If you thought IT contracting was hitting a rough patch due to Brexit or IBM firing contractors, then think again, as demand was strong during May.

In fact, the 4 weeks leading up to June 2017 was the busiest time this year for IT contractors, as companies all around the UK needed certain skills that couldn’t be found elsewhere.

This is all according to a national staffing index, that shows demand for temporary IT skills was at 61.9 during the month of May, compared to 59.2 in April and 60.1 in March.

It seems to suggest that not only was May the busiest time for IT contractors so far this year, but it was also busier than any month last year. I for one, will be interested to see the stats for June, July and August of this year…could demand for IT skills get even stronger? Only time will tell.

You have to go back to April 2015 when the demand was stronger, when the score according to the national staffing index was 62.2.

So why are IT contractors so in demand right now, shouldn’t it all be doom and gloom with Brexit on the horizon and the slump in the economy? Actually, no.

Firstly, reports are suggesting that many IT contractors from the EU are leaving the UK and going back to their home countries. This has led to companies turning towards British IT contractors when they need work doing.

Secondly, IT security is becoming an issue for many companies and businesses around the country. It was only a few weeks ago that British Airways was hacked, and many others are now starting to experience similar issues.

This means that IT contractors who specialise in security are now finding their skills very much in demand, with some companies willing to pay top money if they can keep them safe from hackers.

Lastly, there appears to be a shortage of IT skills in many areas of the country, with things such as Data Analytics, Software, Cyber Security, and Java, being right at there at the top of that list.

If you are an IT contractor with those kind of skills then you should have no problem getting work, with a nice pay packet to go with it.

Will this last though, or will IT contractors find themselves out of work in the near future? Obviously no-one can say for sure, but if you ask me, I would say that the IT contracting scene is looking very good in the UK right now, and it is only going to get better.

So if you have the skills and are willing to do the work, you should be able to get paid some decent cash for IT contracting in 2017.

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Hammond Does U-Turn on Tax Grab

Just like I reported about last week, the Chancellor Philip Hammond went after the self employed in his budget with a tax grab, and many were outraged!

So much so that it now looks like Mr Hammond has decided to do an amazing U-Turn on his initial plans, in a move that we have never seen before from a UK Chancellor.

In a brief letter that was sent to all Tory MPs (I reported how many back benchers were not impressed by the tax grab plans), the Chancellor said that he would no longer be making Class 4 National Insurance payments more expensive for the self employed.

The right thing has been done of course, but it does raise some questions that need answering.

Firstly, how on Earth did they think doing a tax grab was a good idea in the first place? Just like I said last week, it was another slap in the face for our nations self employed. It’s almost as if many people in the government don’t have a clue.

Secondly, does the Chancellor have no conviction at all in what he is doing? To do a U-Turn so soon after the Budget really has made a lot of people wonder if this guy is even up to the job. The UK could soon become a laughing stock…it probably already is.

I didn’t agree with his decision to do the tax grab (and that does make me question his qualifications for the job), but what really makes me wonder about the Chancellor is the fact he was so quick to give in.

Sure, it’s good that you are willing to listen to other people and take on board feedback, but sometimes you have to stand behind your decisions. I think this was one of those times for Philip Hammond.

Other world leaders will no doubt be looking at this and noting down that the UK are potential easy targets when it comes to the negotiation table.

I’m not saying that Philip Hammond should not have backed down and gone away from his initial plans…but I think he did it way too quickly, and like mentioned before, with no real conviction is what he was doing.

Anyway, it’s good to see that self employed people are not going to be subjected to this tax grab, but in my opinion it really doesn’t change anything.

Contractors, freelancers, gig workers, small business owners…they need to be rewarded for what they do for the economy, especially when you consider that Brexit is just around the corner where the UK will be leaving the European Union.

These are the men and women that the government want on their side, but what are they doing to achieve this? Not a lot if you ask me.

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UK Population “Optimistic” About Entrepreneurship

In a recent study it was revealed that people in the UK were more optimistic about working for themselves, compared to other European countries.

These findings are no doubt going to surprise many experts, who have long been claiming that factors such as Brexit will mean less British people decide to do things like start a business, become a contractor, and get started in the gig economy. Well, according to this study the opposite is true.

Out of those asked, 44% of people in the UK said it was the best country to go down the self employed route, with 57% saying they were optimistic about the economy.

This doesn’t surprise me at all to be honest, because despite all of the negativity we keep hearing about in the news, the reality of the situation is that many Britons are hard working, ambitious, and want to work for themselves…and many won’t let anything stop them.

Sure, Brexit might cause a few problems with the economy, and yes, nothing is ever perfect…but when you are determined to succeed then nothing can stop you, and it seems that many people in the UK have this mindset.

Something tells me we are going to be alright, this nation of ours, as long as entrepreneur’s, small business owners, contractors, freelancers…they all keep pushing forward and don’t let anything or anybody stop them.

What appears to be even more encouraging is that younger people are more interested in becoming their own boss, with 76% of 18 to 24 year olds saying this is their goal. Compare this to 48% of 50 to 64 year olds, and it’s easy to see why UK economy is only going to become stronger, no matter what happens in Europe.

That isn’t to say that everyone is in support of Brexit though, as the study found that many people do have some concerns about becoming isolated from our European neighbours.

For example, 30% wondered about what our access to the single market will be like once Brexit has taken place, which of course, is very important for anyone that wants to do business with a company in Europe.

Of course, we don’t even know for sure exactly how much Britain is going to leave the European Union, so it’s difficult to predict exactly what is going to happen.

Back to the study and it was found that the 2 main reasons for wanting to become self employed were financial success (48%) and freedom and independence (47%).

You know, I hear this a lot from all you contractors, freelancers and gig workers out there…you just want to make a decent amount of money, but most importantly, you want to be your own boss and set your own schedule.

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Christmas a Quiet Time for IT Contractors

Despite IT contractors being in huge demand this year, new reports are suggesting that Christmas will be a quiet time.

The report, which was published in November, shows that demand for IT type services typically drops significantly during the December period, only to then get back to normal at the beginning of January. This happened during both the end of 2014 and 2015, and is now predicted to follow this trend at the end of 2016.

I think this is something that happens in most industries, and I wouldn’t be too worried if you are an IT professional who is finding it difficult to find contracting jobs this Christmas.

In fact, you might want to sit back and relax for a few weeks, and then be raring to go in the new year, because many of the other reports I’ve been listening to are predicting that 2017 is going to be one of the best ever for IT contractors.

This is especially true in specialised areas of the IT industry, where certain skills are in high demand and they need contractors to fill positions. For example, cyber security, digital services, gaming, software, and technical sales are just some of the areas where your IT knowledge and expertise is going to be needed in 2017.

Also, when you consider that the UK might very well go forward with Brexit and leave the European Union, then some experts are claiming that it could mean even more shortages of skills in key areas. Who knows exactly what is going to happen, but what I do know is that for IT contractors there should be more work than ever before, both in London and other areas of the country.

There is a downside to the potential Brexit situation though. A few pundits have commented that many companies might be tempted to relocate abroad in a bid to get IT professionals if they can’t do it at a suitable cost here in the UK.

I’m not too sure if this is going to happen. We’ve already seen how many of the biggest companies in the world have committed their future to the UK, and how companies such as McDonald’s are basing their international headquarters in London. I wouldn’t be surprised if similar companies do exactly the same thing, which in turn would mean more opportunities than ever before for IT contractors.

For now, it’s probably time to enjoy the end of a successful 2016 and celebrate Christmas with family and friends, and then get ready for 2017, because as an IT contractor your skills are very much needed by the UK economy.

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The New PM Should Back Umbrella Contractors

Now that many people have come to terms with Brexit and the implications it will have for the British economy, it’s time to realize that umbrella contractors are the foundation of this country and should be treated as a priority by new Prime Minister Theresa May.

This is the opinion of IPSE, the UK contractor trade group, who recently stated that it should be the “first priority” of Mrs May to back the self employed when she is drawing up new plans on how to deal with Brexit.

My opinion on this matter? The IPSE are absolutely spot on with their thinking, and if this country is going to stand any chance of flourishing over the next few years then more needs to be done to make sure that contractors are given as many benefits as possible and are not hindered with stupid rules like in the past.

At the end of the day, it’s all about flexibility in a post Brexit world for umbrella contractors. Once doing business with other countries becomes more difficult, especially for the self employed, then it’s essential the Prime Minister works on securing global trade agreements and easier access to the global market, while at the same time ensuring that all the millions of self employed people in the UK are not constantly bothered with silly regulations.

Even when the UK was very much a part of Europe I think that David Cameron and his government always wanted to help contractors as much as possible, but this didn’t always happen unfortunately.

For example, one measure that comes to mind is how public sector contractors have been taxed excessively when compared to other industries. It just isn’t right, and this is something Mrs May will have to put right at the top of her list to sort out…or face the stern words of thousands of people who are banking on her to do the right thing.

The IPSE, which stands for the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed, went on to say that it realizes the Prime Minister has a lot of new challenges in front of her post Brexit, but through backing umbrella contractors she will put herself in a favourable position and quickly become a leader that many people warm to.

Let’s face it, being in the top position is not easy as you can’t always please everybody, but isn’t it about time the average man and woman who are the engine room of the British economy are rewarded for once? I think there is a definite yes on this one, and not many people will disagree with me.

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Uncertainty for umbrella contractors post-Brexit

Umbrella contractors accosted by Nigel Farage’s smiling face in the wake of the Brexit vote are all wondering: what’s going to happen to us now?

Farage and the UKIP might be celebrating after the final votes were tallied late last Thursday, revealing that Leave beat out Remain by some one million votes, but the nation’s freelancers, contractors, and other self-employed have been left with worried looks on their faces thanks to the uncertainty of what the future holds. Sadly there’s little to no solid information out there to rely upon, but industry bodies such as the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) are already mobilising to make sure the rights of freelancers and umbrella company contractors are looked after.

IPSE has taken the opportunity of the outcome of the Brexit vote to speak out once more against new IR35 legislative proposals, calling for their immediate dismissal in the face of the UK having to go it alone outside of the EU. Other bodies have agreed, highlighting how public sector bodies in the UK have a massive task to deal with, making it quite foolish to begin tinkering with IR35 when there are much bigger fish to fry.

However, there may be a silver lining. The Freelancer and Contractor Association (FCSA) feels that freelancers and contract workers are going to be crucial to the British economy going forward in order to stave off the most deleterious economic effects of the Brexit. Uncertainty will abound – something the FCSA feels might paralyse the traditional workforce – but the flexibility of temporary workers could be the saving grace of the UK economy. This goes double for any firms that have had to rely upon migrant labour forces that will be much reduced if not eliminated.

So yes, there are some advantages to the Brexit vote for the freelancing community, but who knows if it’s going to be enough to balance out the crushing economic blow the UK is going to suffer for a while. The pound is already in the toilet, thanks to the responses of the international financial markets, and while Farage and his UKIP mates might be happy as clams by the vote’s results it might not be all that fantastic for the average Brit – especially if the rumblings in Scotland turn into another referendum there as well. The United Kingdom might not be so united in the future if things don’t go well!

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