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!