Tag Archive | "contractors"

Coldplay and Coronation Street Unite for The Parents

Who are the best people in your corner when you want parental leave for the self employed? Pop singers and soap stars of course. Who else?

Nobody, and that is why Chris Martin of the famous band “Coldplay” and Tracy Brabin of former “Coronation Street” fame, have decided to lend their support to the issue of getting paid to look after your kids…while you are self employed.

More specifically, this is about self employed fathers getting a wedge of cash from the government to share the parental responsibilities once the baby comes along.

Do you know who else would be the perfect spokesperson for a cause such as this? Jeremy Kyle, the talk show host who specialises in finding out “Just who’s baby is it, and who is the Dad?” Once Jeremy identifies the male, then it would be a simple process to put that “Dad” on the payroll.

“Do you even want to become self employed?” Jeremy would shout. Followed by…”Here. Just take your parental leave money and get out of the building.”

It’s only when stars such as Chris Martin, Tracy Brabin and Jeremy Kyle put their name behind something, well, that is when the wheels start moving and something can be done.

As we speak, it is only employed Mothers and Fathers who can share the responsibility of parenting with a stack of cash in their bank account from the government. Self employed Mothers do get a stack…but fathers? No stack.

According to the maternity discrimination action group called “Pregnant Then Screwed,” getting shared parental leave for the self employed would be a major step forward in gender equality.

They went on to say that in the creative industries this would have a major impact, mainly due to the fact that 44% of people in those industries are self employed.

I wonder if the Creative Industries Federation (CIF) are in agreement with “Pregnant Then Screwed” on this one? If so, then I’m sure they will soon be working together in order to eradicate this once and for all.

When you consider that so many creative people are self employed, then it’s easy to understand why Chris Martin, Tracy Brabin and Jeremy Kyle have got right behind this campaign.

“Just take the paternity test,” Jeremy Kyle will no doubt be saying, followed by, “what are you…SCARED?”

Right now in order for a self employed woman to be eligible for maternity leave, she must have been self employed for 26 weeks or more.

Through the Freedom of Information Act…what we have found is that around 24,000 women in self employment take the government up on their offer and get the Maternity Allowance.

Olga FitzRoy, who is involved with a group called “Parental Pay Equality” said recently, “This is a great opportunity for politicians of all parties to unite behind the bill, which will send a strong message that men and women are valued equally in the home and in the workplace.”

I just hope that Olga and CIF join forces at some point in the future, to brainstorm potential ways they can wipe clean the slate and see a clearer future.

Or just leave everything in the hands of a certain Mr Jeremy Kyle…”Self employed are you? You deserve every penny of that parental leave…and I haven’t even started yet…so why don’t you sit down, shut up, and just take the test, you BIG HARD MAN.”

“The DNA tests show that…You ARE the father. Now get home and start claiming that parental pay!”

[The crowd goes wild with appreciation and Jeremy has a look of victory on his face]

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Government Break Their Pledge (Self Employed Pensions)

We all know that not enough self employed people are saving for their retirements. Millions are going to be coming up short, unfortunately.

This led the government to make a pledge to the self employed community a few years ago, where they announced that auto-enrolment policies would be extended to those who worked for themselves.

As you are no doubt aware, this “auto-enrolment” idea has been a great hit in the traditional employment community, where employees are automatically entered into their companies pension scheme. This ensures that many people will have enough cash stashed away when they get to retirement age.

So it is all going well for the employed, but what about the self employed? According to experts, not enough has been done to make good on the pledge to “make auto-enrolment available to the self employed.”

Not only that, but it was the pensions minister, a guy by the name of Guy Opperman who went a step further and declared at the Conservative Party Conference that there would be “no doubt whatsoever” in regards to self employed people getting an auto-enrolment scheme.

Fast forward to the present day and do we have any kind of self employment pension scheme that gives the option of auto-enrolment? Er…no.

Instead, all we have heard recently is vague quotes from the government where they appear to be back tracking on their comments of a few years ago. For many in the know, it seems the politicians no longer want to know.

For example, in response to a recent statement from the government, a senior analyst at a famous investment broker firm had this to say…”most would regard the new pledge to simply encourage self employed people to save in a pension rather than them being auto-enrolled.”

Do you know what though? While I agree with the experts about the fact that politicians have gone back on their word, in my opinion, I reckon that auto-enrolment pensions for the self employed is not particularly a great idea in the first place.

People should be making their own choices if you ask me, and if you are smart enough to be self employed then you are smart enough to sort out your own pension. If you don’t then there really is no-one else to blame.

It isn’t like there is a lack of information about self employed pensions. A quick internet search will give you all the information needed to make an informed choice.

Forget about waiting around for the government to do anything for you (it will be a long wait.) Take control of your own situation.

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30% of Gig Economy Workers Have At Least Two Jobs

If you thought that having one job was enough then try having two. That is what around 30% of gig economy workers now have to do.

These so called “zero hour contractor workers” often find they are not making enough money at one place of employment, which leads them to seek out a second employer. This is according to a survey by a leading insurance provider.

What they found is that 30% have two jobs, while 7% have three or even more jobs, often working around the clock to make sure they get a decent pay cheque in their bank account every week.

The survey also discovered that 10% of gig workers also take on extra temporary work during Christmas time in order to make some extra cash. Who can blame them? Not me.

Do you know what though? In my opinion I think this is what the so called “gig economy” is all about. Gone are the days where you worked for just one employer…say hello to the new era, a time where you have the freedom to choose exactly who you want to work for.

Don’t like one particular employer? No problem, just fire them and move on. This puts the gig economy worker firmly in control if you ask me, to the point where they are the one’s calling the shots, not somebody else.

This also includes contractors and freelancers don’t forget, who have long been seen as the benchmark of independent workers who set their own rules. It now seems that many gig workers and zero contract hour workers are getting up to speed.

Not everybody agrees with me though, oh no, because not a week goes by without some politician or union member criticising the gig economy. They are entitled to their opinion of course, but I really do think they are fighting a losing battle.

Sure, they might be getting a lot of attention right now, but eventually people power will win the day, which means a victory for the gig economy, no doubt.

We are already starting to see the tide turn. It was only a couple of months ago when I reported on how Deliveroo won a landmark court case that allowed them to classify their workers as “gig workers” and “self employed.” Expect similar stories to follow.

Not only that, but I reckon we are going to start witnessing even more gig workers embracing getting two or more jobs.

Right now it is 30% of gig economy workers, but in only a few years times it could very well be 50%.

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162 Million Are Independent Workers, But…

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed, AKA IPSE, recently looked more closely at independent workers…

What they found is that in the EU and USA there are roughly 162 million people of working age that take part in some form of independent work. That is approximately 20% to 30% of people who are working right now.

However, not all of these 162 million are full time professionals who work for themselves, oh no, the vast majority just like to dabble in the art of self employment.

The IPSE went on to estimate that about 49 million in the EU and USA are what you would consider those who work for themselves and make the majority of their income from that.

They went on to discover that out of these 49 million workers many of them have reported how job satisfaction and feeling of freedom is what motivates them to do what they do.

It’s not all plain sailing though, oh no, because there was a big but that was often found among these self employed workers, many of whom are freelancers and contractors remember.

What is this big but exactly? It’s the fact that many people who work for themselves find they have difficulty switching off and keeping their mind away from the office.

Compare this to your average traditional employee who very often leaves the troubles of the day behind at their place of employment, and you can easily see how it can be a problem.

Take this time of year as an example, the Christmas time, where most employees take a holiday away from work to relax and enjoy themselves. Unfortunately, many self employed in the EU and USA don’t do this at all, and according to the IPSE there are millions who work on Christmas Day.

That’s right, when so many people are tucking into their turkeys and pulling crackers there are millions out there who are still working away on their laptops and holding important conference calls with associates.

Sure, they might sit with the family for an hour or so to open presents and listen to the Queens speech, but…and this is a big but, are they really focused on having a good time and relaxing? My guess would be no.

The research by the IPSE went on to suggest that self employed people who are managers, directors and senior officials often have the most trouble switching off and enjoying Christmas, where they estimate around 800,000 in the UK have these kind of roles, which accounts for roughly 17 percent of all of our nations self employed.

I would also say that at the other end of the spectrum there are other self employed workers who also have a difficult time switching off and enjoying the Christmas festivities. For example, gig workers such as Uber drivers and online freelancers who might feel they have to take all of the work they can get.

If a client contacts them on Christmas Day are they going to turn it down? They could do, however, if they do turn it down then they could potentially lose out on a lot of work in the New Year.

The message here is simple. Yes there are a lot of independent workers out there, 162 million in the EU and USA, but…and this a big but once again, many pay the price for setting their own hours and being their own boss with the fact they have to be always available.

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Contractors…SNOW Your Rights

The last few years have seen winters in the UK remain unusually snow free, but this year it looks like the snow is here for a while.

Which brings us to an important point…what rights do contractors have when it comes to taking days off from their place of employment if it snows? Obviously if you are one of those contractors who work from home then this doesn’t apply to you, but everyone else, read on…

One possible option an employer might put into action when snow is covering our nations roads is to ask contractors to do some work from home, or even make up the time later. However, it’s worth noting this must be specified in your contract, and if it’s not then you can refuse.

What if you want to go into your place of work but the workplace is actually closed, are you supposed to not get paid? The answer to that one is NO, because legally any employer cannot deduct pay if you can’t work due to the workplace being closed.

This type of situation is the perfect opportunity for contractors to put their feet up and relax for a change, safe in the knowledge they are still getting paid for a day lounging around at home. No need to venture out of the house if you ask me, just watch some TV or read a book.

The workplace being closed due to snow might not be enough to keep you away though, as the law does state that employers can demand you work from another suitable location if they get it ready in time.

Many times, when snow hits the ground in the UK then schools everywhere close down for a day or two, or even more if the teachers have anything to do with it no doubt.

When this happens, some contractors are confused about whether or not it gives them the right to also take the day off because they don’t have anyone to look after their kids.

In this type of situation an employer will usually allow time away from the workplace, although they might want you to work from home or make up the time at a later date for any work you miss.

Sometimes a disagreement happens between contractors and their employers about what should happen during times of snow. If this happens and you can’t come to an agreement then it’s possible to contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, or Acas as they are also known.

Although snow can be a disruption for contractors around the country my advice is to enjoy it while it’s here.

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1 in 5 Self Employed Workers Are “Insecure”

We all know how common self employment is becoming in the UK, but is everybody satisfied? According to new research…NO!

This research came from the CRSE, also known as the Centre for Research on Self Employment, and the IES, also known as the Institute for Employment Studies…they both teamed up for a joint venture to find out more about the self employed community.

The community includes contractors and freelancers of course, which is becoming a common choice for people who want to quit their job, work for themselves and make more money.

Anyway, one of the most interesting statistics to be uncovered during the research is the fact that 1 in 5 self employed are what they call “insecure,” which amounts to roughly 825,000 workers.

What exactly do they mean by insecure anyway? Apparently it is those self employed workers who are on low pay and dependent on one main employer to give them work on a regular basis. They say this includes workers such as cleaners, drivers, and labourers.

Who knows exactly if this is true or not. For all we know, this report could be a complete waste of time by the CRSE and IES, and would find its true place in the bin (which I’m sure is where many of these research projects end up).

On the other hand, they could very well be onto something here, and perhaps nearly a million of our nations self employed are “insecure” and in need of help.

The other end of the spectrum paints a rather different picture however, as the research shows us that 198,400 of self employed people have high pay, mid-independence and are secure, while 162,000 have high pay, complete independence, and yes…security.

I’m sure this includes a lot of contractors and freelancers, because from what I’ve been hearing the job market in this particular self employment niche is very secure right now, to the point where many are going home with bags of cash each and every week.

This certainly is a boom time for anyone that wants to call themselves a contractor or freelancer, as companies need the talent and are willing to pay top money in order to secure it.

Make no mistake, there is no “insecurity” to be found here. Take IT contractors as a perfect example, who are really in demand right now and can sometimes command a stunning £700 a day for simple tasks.

It’s a goldmine no doubt, but will it last? Experts are often debating this very question, but in my opinion, I think if you have the skills then you should always be able to get good work and be well paid. No need to be insecure at all.

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The Truth About K&B Contractor Accountants

If you are reading this then you have probably already heard about K&B Accountancy Group and their new special offer. A lot of contractors are talking.

What they are offering is a deal for contractors to switch over to their company completely free of charge, without any catch up fees. Something unheard of for contractors who want to change accountants.

A lot of contractors are considering taking up K&B on this offer, but before they do, I’ve been getting quite a few more emails than normal…all of them wanting to know my opinion about K&B as a company and what I think about their deal.

Firstly, let me just say that after being in the contractor world for many years I can safely vouch for K&B Accountancy Group as a respected company. They really are one of the companies that understand the needs of contractors, something which a lot of other accountants just don’t get.

With that being said do I think that every contractor should take advantage of the offer from K&B and switch over to them right away? Not at all, and in fact, there are many contractors who probably shouldn’t.

For example, If you are currently satisfied with your accountant and they are working their magic on your books, then there really isn’t any point in switching. Keep on doing what you are doing is my advice.

However, I know for a fact that the vast majority contractors are not satisfied with their accountant.

Why? The number 1 complaint I hear on a regular basis is a lack of personal touch. In other words, when you want to get through to someone it’s not uncommon to be met with an answerphone or endless ringing. Are they ignoring your calls? I wouldn’t like to say.

That is why having a dedicated accountant service is so important for every contractor. There should always be someone available at the end of the phone…something which K&B have always offered.

No matter if you want to discuss the accounts of your limited company or you want to know if your sole trader self assessment has been submitted…there is always someone at K&B to assist you, and with 15 years of experience they really know what they are talking about.

So if you are intrigued by this free offer from K&B Accountancy Group then my advice would be to go and have a look right now.

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“DECLINED!” – HMRC Refuse Credit Card Payments

When you go to pay your tax bill what is the one payment option most self employed people want to see? The credit card of course.

Unfortunately, HMRC no longer want to make paying your tax bill easy…they want to make it difficult, by recently announcing “no credit cards allowed!”

That’s right. From January 2018 you will no longer be able to use your credit card to feed the government more of your money. Instead, they are demanding other methods of payment, such as cheque and postal order.

Are we going back to the 1980’s you might be wondering, where postal orders were all the rage and a chequebook was the one thing you always had in your pocket? Not at all, because other payment methods will also be accepted, such as debit card, cash and direct debit.

Fortunately, you can still use a credit card, just NOT a personal credit card…it has to be a business credit card.

This has left many of our nations self employed outraged though, who are arguing that they should have the right to pay any way they want to, including personal credit cards.

Not only that, but business credit cards can be difficult to get accepted for, especially if you are a contractor, freelancer, or gig worker, and as we all know, cash flow can sometimes be slightly problematic.

Come January 2018 many contractors, freelancers, and gig workers might not have the available funds to settle their tax bill, and with the absence of credit cards as an option, they would certainly encounter a difficult situation.

I reckon this could very well drive some self employed people right towards the shady world of loan sharking and payday loans. This kind of lending comes with astronomical interest rates of course, and usually, only serves to push people further into debt.

On the flip side, credit cards offer a more flexible way of lending, where you can move money around to 0% interest cards to enjoy a cheap way of borrowing money.

What makes this even more of a strange decision by HMRC is that January 2018 is also the time when credit card companies will no longer be able to slap on surcharges to transactions.

In other words, it won’t cost the government any extra cash to accept a credit card payment, which makes you wonder why they are banning it? Many people have been left bewildered.

So much so that they have taken to Facebook groups and forums to express their outrage and demand answers, although something tells me there will be nothing but silence from HMRC.

My advice to any contractor, freelancer or gig worker out there is to make sure you have enough cash in the bank to pay your tax bill next year.

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“Be Pragmatic” Says Accountant, Regarding IR35

The IR35 changes have had contractors complaining and moaning, there is no doubt about that…but should they all leave the public sector? Maybe not.

This is what one specialist accountant is saying anyway, who has recently gone on record to suggest that independent contractors who are currently working within the public sector should take a more “pragmatic” approach to the situation.

In other words, don’t rage all out war against IR35. Instead, try and find ways you can make it work in your favour.

The accountant went on to add that he acknowledges the fact that recent IR35 changes are probably the “most hated legislation” within the public sector contracting industry, but, contractors must remember that when the original IR35 legislation was introduced 17 years ago there was actually some benefits associated with it. In his opinion anyway.

More specifically, it was of benefit for loyal public sector employees who suddenly started to realise that the contractors they were working side by side with…well, in many situations those contractors were making more money and paying significantly less tax.

Many pundits over the years have claimed these contractors in the public sector are basically using special circumstances as a tax dodge, which isn’t fair at all, and that is why we have finally seen the recent IR35 changes in an attempt to level the playing field.

It might not be going how they expected though, because as I’ve reported about before, rather than sitting down and simply accepting these new changes, there are many contractors who are downing tools with the public sector and looking towards the private sector for better opportunities.

There are many who have already made the move, with thousands more expected to join them before the end of 2017.

This isn’t a temporary move either, because according to many public sector insiders what they are saying is the IR35 changes are going nowhere soon.

However, this particular specialist accountant reckons that contractors should not be totally against the IR35 changes, and in fact, if they were to get the right mindset about this whole situation then they could use it in their favour.

He suggests that contractors should not knock out IR35 completely, and instead, view working within the confines of IR35 as a “necessary evil” to get what they want.

What do contractors want, especially those in the public sector? According to the accountant it is NOT more money. Oh no. It is more flexibility in the way they work, which means that working with the IR35 changes as a self employed contractor, even if it means paying more tax, could give them the flexible lifestyle they require.

I’m not too sure about this one. Yes it is something that every contractor wants…flexibility that is, but should it come at a cost of paying more tax, which in many experts view is unnecessary and unjust? Especially when you consider that there is more than enough opportunities in the private sector, where there isn’t any IR35 madness but the same amount of flexibility is usually on offer.

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Only Digital Banking Please…We Are Self Employed

Do you ever get tired of cashing cheques and paying in money at your local bank? A digital banking company might just change that.

They are called Revolut, and so far have been a big success in the consumer banking market. Now they are eager to move into the business arena, with self employed people such as contractors, freelancers, gig workers and small business owners right at the top of their list.

So far, 12,000 businesses have signed up for the digital banking service offered by Revolut, and if reports are to be trusted this includes a few FTSE 100 companies.

You don’t have to be a big business doing millions of pounds a month to use Revolut though…it is open to any self employed person that wants to move their banking into the 21st century.

The service starts at only £25 a month, and then moves all the way up to £1000 a month depending on how much you are banking with them and what kind of customer benefits you receive. You get the first month for free to give it a try.

Once signed up, you get a business banking card that can be used in 25 different currencies and has no fees when used. Not a bad deal if you ask me, especially if you do a lot of business with clients and companies from abroad.

Traditional banks often take high fees for themselves if you receive money from abroad, and this usually comes with a terrible conversion rate. It appears that Revolut might just be the alternative option that self employed people in the UK have been looking for.

Not only that, but when you consider that most contractors and freelancers these days get paid online without any cash or cheques, then it’s easy to see why digital banking is now a viable solution.

The founder and CEO of Revolut, Nik Storonsky, had this to say…”I have great confidence that Revolut for Business will experience the same demand as our consumer service has.”

I’m sure it will Nik, and many experts agree with me, with some commenting that Revolut for business is a game changer.

Also, I’ve heard from some insider sources that Revolut are planning to use this as a springboard to get into mortgages and loans for the self employed.

This is definitely an area that is currently being under served, with many freelancers, contractors, gig workers, and small business owners out there who just can’t get the finance they need, despite making a decent amount of money every month.

Let’s wait to find out what happens with the mortgages and loans, and of course, with this new digital banking service. Something tells me it is going to be successful and we will hear a lot more about Revolut in the coming months.

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Deliveroo Fight Back With Pay Per Delivery for Drivers

The takeaway delivery company Deliveroo have been in the news a lot recently, mostly being accused of hiring employees under the guise of “contractors.”

One of the arguments being used against Deliveroo is that in some cities they do pay drivers or couriers by the hour, typically getting a set rate and then £1 per delivery, which means in many people’s opinion this makes them employees and not contractors.

Not content to just sit back and be attacked in the press, Deliveroo have decided to hit back at their critics, by bringing in a new pay structure for their self employed drivers.

What they have come up with is a pay per delivery structure as an option for all workers. Last year Deliveroo actually tried to make this mandatory for everybody, but it now seems to be voluntary.

Will many workers take up this new pay structure from Deliveroo? Probably not. While some drivers appear to be okay with being classed as a contractor and self employed, there are many that want full employee rights. Thousands protested last year, and there is expected to be protests this year.

I just think that if these drivers took the job on the understanding that it was a self employed position, then what are they complaining about? If they want traditional based employment where they are classed as an employee then go to another company. It really is as simple as that, but of course, many don’t want to listen.

Interestingly, after a bit of testing Deliveroo have said that the Pay Per Delivery structure, on average, earns their drivers £12 an hour, while those on the hourly based structure only get around £9.50 an hour.

£2.50 extra per hour and a lot of drivers are not interested…it really does make you wonder if some of these workers are actually interested in “working” or if they just want to get a cushy job with an hourly rate where they do the bare minimum.

Drivers who use Pay Per Delivery also have the ability to see orders as they come through the system, and have the option to reject any deliveries they don’t want to make. Sounds like a good deal if you ask me.

Also, let’s not forget that contractor drivers who work for Deliveroo also get flexibility in when they work and for how many hours. This means some weeks they might only do 20 hours, while others it could be 70 hours. They can work around their schedule and lifestyle rather than the other way round.

I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of Deliveroo in the news or the employee versus self employed debate.

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Contractors to Finally Get Paid on Time…Maybe

I reported right here on this blog about how contractors spend an average of 20 days a year chasing clients for late payments. Sometimes they never get paid.

This led the government to step in and announce they would setup a special branch that is focused 100% on making sure contractors, the self employed, and small business owners get paid on time.

To be honest I doubted if they would actually go through and take action, but it looks like they have.

From last week, all large companies and limited liability partnerships will now have to share details of their payment practices with the government, and if they don’t, then they can expect to get punished and even be put out of business.

Not only that, but contractors who are finding it difficult to get paid by clients can go directly to the government to get things sorted.

Why are the government stepping in now? Well, I think they have just realised how much of a problem late payment is…with one report suggesting that self employed workers in the UK are owed £26 Billion pounds in overdue payments as we speak.

That is definitely not small change, and if big companies keep getting away with not paying contractors the money they are owed then it could start to become a real problem for the economy.

If the government don’t take action then it might lead to an economic meltdown, not something we want as Britain leaves the European Union.

The main information that large companies are now required to share is their average payment time for invoices. If they are taking too long then a government official will be demanding to know why.

Right now, it is only companies who have a turnover over 36 million a year or a balance sheet of over 18 million that will have to report on details of their payment practises, but as time goes on I think that smaller companies might have to do the same as well.

This ensures that contractors get paid on time by all of their clients, and they can even check to see the payment record of a particular company before agreeing to work with them.

Will this completely stop late payments for contractors though? Unfortunately not, as there is always a few companies that try to game the system and get around the rules.

Also, it remains to be seen if the government actually enforce the rules and punish companies that don’t pay contractors on time. They might take action for a few months to grab some headlines, but then start to ignore it after a while.

Hopefully this won’t happen, and contractors can finally get paid the money they are owed. At the end of the day, £26 Billion pounds owed is just way too much, and something needs to be done about it.

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UK “The Worst” for Self Employed Pensions

A team of pension experts recently took to the streets of 15 countries around the world and their findings were not exactly surprising.

Out of the 15 countries across Europe, Asia, the Americas and Australia, it was the UK that was ranked “the worst” for how many self employed people had their pensions sorted out.

Regular readers of this blog will be only too aware about how I’ve reported that many contractors, freelancers, and small business owners are just not educated enough about self employed pensions. Unfortunately, they are going to find out the harsh truth when they get to retirement age.

Looking at the numbers, the team of pension experts were shocked to discover that only 52% of the 4.2 million self employed people in the UK did not have any kind of independent pension. So that is a lot of people that have decided to rely solely on the government State pension, which in my opinion, might not even be around in 20 years time.

Compare this to an average of 36% that did not have a pension across the other 14 countries, and it becomes clear that in the UK we really need to push the message across to every self employed worker out there…

“You need to get your pension sorted…ASAP!”

I’m sure this is what they have been doing in India where only 12% of those surveyed mentioned they had no plan for a retirement pension. So that is 88% who have really got their act together it seems. Well done India. UK take note.

Actually, one of the main reasons why India are so clued up when it comes to the subject of independent pensions for the self employed is because they have no welfare system like here in the UK.

The same can be said for Brazil, China and Turkey as well, where the majority of those surveyed said they were actively saving into a pension.

However, the same can’t be said about countries similar to the UK that also have a welfare system, because France, Spain and Australia only did a bit better than over here, with many clueless about what to do for their retirement.

One thing I do know is that the team of pension experts must have been baffled when roaming the streets of the UK and talking to the self employed people of our nation.

I can imagine the look of bemusement on their face as…

Only 10% of those who have a retirement plan had it written down.

56% said I don’t have any kind of plan.

52% expected to be working past the age of 65.

49% said they plan to rely on the State pension from the government.

My advice on this, if you are self employed and don’t have any kind of plan for retirement and your pension…get it sorted as soon as possible. It really is the only way, because you don’t want to be still working when you are 75, or even 80.

The government are thinking about bringing in some kind of auto enrolment scheme for the self employment, similar to what they have in many companies for employees. Although it might be a while until we see that happen.

For now, you really need to take control of your own situation.

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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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Tories Say No to Tax Grab on Self Employed

It’s that time of the year again…The Budget with Chancellor Philip Hammond, but some experts are predicting there could be a tax grab on the self employed.

This has led many Tory backbenchers to say enough is enough, and to remind Mr Hammond that constantly going after the hard working contractors and small business owners of this country just isn’t on at all.

One report suggests this years Budget could see National Insurance Payments targeted, with the self employed having to pay 3p in the pound more.

In my opinion this is just a blatant tax grab by Philip Hammond, and is in line with the usual “go after the self employed” tactic when they need to raise some extra money.

How about doing something good for those people who are keeping your economy propped up Mr Hammond? No of course, it’s always tax, tax, and more tax.

Right now 20% of the UK workforce are considered to be self employed, and with Brexit on the horizon these people are going to be more important than ever before.

The last thing the Chancellor wants to be doing is getting them angry…wouldn’t you agree? It’s the same old story though, and I’m sure the 3p change will be announced tomorrow.

It was only a few weeks ago that the Prime Minister, Theresa May, announced in a speech that small businesses, and the self employed in general, are more important than ever before.

Well, it doesn’t seem that Philip Hammond listened to that speech, he was probably too busy working out ways to get every last penny out contractors, freelancers, gig workers…you name it, they are all on his list.

To give you an idea of what this would all mean for the self employed, if you currently make 40,000 pounds a year, then expect an extra 80 pounds on top of what you already pay in tax and National Insurance.

Surely, the government should be looking at ways to encourage people to start out in business and begin working for themselves, and not trying to grab every last penny they can? I don’t think this has even occurred to them.

So now we are in a position where everybody will have to wait until tomorrow to find out exactly what the budget holds for self employed people. Who knows, maybe the Chancellor won’t move forward with this tax grab? Something tells me he will though.

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Public Sector Contractors Walk Out – “had enough” They Say

As you might be aware, changes are about to happen in the public sector with thousands of contractors facing disruption to their tax situation.

It is the IR35 tax change that has got everybody up in arms, and the reason is because many contractors who work in the public sector will end up paying more tax, something which many of them don’t want to do, obviously.

This has lead thousands of contractors to simply down tools and walk out. “I’ve just had enough,” said one contractor who wanted to remain nameless. No doubt they are leaving the public sector and going to offer their services elsewhere in a bid to avoid IR35.

What were the government expecting though, did they really think people would take it? Reports suggest they came up with the idea of changing the IR35 system in a bid to make £440 million a year from 20,000 hard working contractors in the public sector.

What they didn’t expect was that many of these contractors are going to walk out and never go back. Looks like it’s back to the drawing board for the people at government HQ.

One of the biggest areas of the public sector that hires contractors is IT with an estimated 18,000 on the books of Central government.

However, many reports are saying that IT contractors are the most affected by IR35, and they are not impressed at all. One example is a recent defence related IT project that is no doubt crucial for the nation…but 87 of the contractors working on that project have already left, with many more expected to follow.

It’s also come to my attention that another project involving public sector contractors, this time consisting of security consultants…well, almost half of the people in that team have already moved on to the private sector.

Let’s be honest here for a moment. Is it really a surprise this is happening? Of course it isn’t, mainly because people don’t like to lose money. Simple really isn’t it, but for some reason the organisers behind the IR35 change just couldn’t see this. Or maybe they did and just don’t care? Who knows exactly what is going on here.

What I do know is that at the end of March thousands more contractors officially come to the end of their public sector contracts, and guess what…many are not going to be renewing.

Instead, they will go boldly into the private sector, where they are not going to be subjected to this IR35 madness.

The only way they will go back is if the government decides to not go forward with the IR35 tax change, but I don’t think that is going to happen.

In the meantime thousands more public sector contractors are going to be walking out and going elsewhere.

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