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General election wish-lists: What contracting and recruitment bodies want

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Later this week voters across the United Kingdom will go the polls for the second General Election in two years.

We’ve already summarised what the main parties’ manifestos say about contractors and the self-employed.

Now, in the latest in a series of General Election-themed blog posts, we look at what some of the main trade bodies for contractors, freelancers and recruiters would like to see from the next government.

General Election wish-list: Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC)

The REC is urging whoever forms the next government to simplify the tax system and avoid extending recent IR35 reforms, which make end clients in the public sector responsible for determining a contractor’s IR35 status, to the private sector.

It also wants the new administration to “ensure employment regulations reflect modern working practices.”

Regarding Brexit, the REC’s ‘manifesto for jobs’ – called Let’s build the best jobs market in the world – says politicians and policymakers must:

  • Work with the recruitment industry to pre-empt how new working relationships with the EU might impact UK jobs; and
  • Build a pragmatic post-EU immigration system that reflects the needs of businesses in different sectors and regions.

The Association of Independent Professionals & the Self Employed (IPSE)

IPSE has published a wide-ranging manifesto entitled A Contract with the Self-Employed.

The manifesto, which can be viewed here, contains a series of policy recommendations from developing a “proper pensions solution” for the self-employed to undertaking a fundamental, strategic review of the tax system in order to ensure fairness and efficiency.

Like the REC, IPSE says the recent IR35 reforms should not be extended to the private sector. IPSE adds that the next government should “limit the damage caused by changes to the way IR35 works in the public sector.”

Other recommendations include:

  • Defining self-employment in law to “stop exploitation and keep self-employment positive.”
  • Providing fair parental benefits for self-employed mothers and fathers.
  • Introducing a new corporate form tailored for freelancers – the ‘Freelancer Limited Company.’
  • Freezing Class 4 National Insurance Contributions (NICs).
  • Removing the burden of policymaking from HMRC.

The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo)

Echoing IPSE’s call for a review of the tax system, APSCo wants to see:

A new tax and regulatory framework: which differentiates highly skilled, highly paid professionals and which puts them outside of regulation aimed at protecting vulnerable workers.

Other items on APSCo’s manifesto include:

  • A new status for “incorporated independent professionals” that recognises the right to waive statutory worker protections such as the Agency Worker Regulations.
  • The creation of a new government position, namely a junior minister with a specific remit for flexible employment and engagement within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
  • A new employment status test that “can adapt to the changing face of modern employment.”
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