Believe it or not, the Government has just taken what could be viewed as a positive step towards supporting freelancers and umbrella company contractors.
Now, please contain your excitement. I know that any sentence you read beginning with “the Government” is bound to be viewed much in the same way you would look at a fresh bit of dead squirrel on the pavement outside your front door first thing in the morning, but let’s give this one the benefit of the doubt, eh? Honestly it sounds like it could have potential; a new All Party Parliamentary Group for Self-Employment and Freelancing has been announced, and it’s to be made up from a variety of MPs from the Lib Dems, the Tories, and Labour to provide a well-rounded group and a large number of viewpoints. No word on UKIP MPs, as they’re likely still trying to suss out how the doorknobs in Westminster work.
Conservative MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale David Morris has been announced as the head of this new APPG. Mr Morris was famously – or is that infamously? – appointed as the Government’s Ambassador for Self-Employment in 2015 based on his experience of his business acumen; the well-coiffed Morris was responsible for creating a chain of hairdressing salons prior to kicking off his career as an MP.
So there you have it: there’s a new APPG, created specifically for self-employed folk like freelancers and umbrella company contractors, and it’s led by a former entrepreneur himself. Membership will comprise MPs from across the aisle, and it’s tasked with providing some representation to the 4.5 million of us who have been slaving away to rebuild the British economy without so much of a bare mention in most instances.
Is this going to actually benefit freelancers and contract workers, though? Research shows that the number of self-employed Brits has actually been declining over the past few months, which is alarming considering that growth in the sector up until now has been rampant. I can only hope that this APPG will look into possible reasons why people are fleeing the contracting scene, especially with its many benefits. If the current changes to the legislative landscape – like those obtuse Supervision Direction Control laws – are any indication, many Brits may be deciding to get out of the freelancing game because it’s just become too difficult to deal with.
At any rate, I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see. My hopes may be high for this new APPG to actually make a difference in Parliament, but let’s be honest here: are any of us expecting much from the Government when it comes to actual, real, effective change for the better in our lives?