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    Crystal News

    Politicians and business leaders underline impact of T&S proposals

    February 5th, 2016

    A vivid local example of the destructive effects of abolishing tax relief on travel and subsistence for flexible contracting professionals is being spelled out by business leaders and politicians in Cumbria. Awareness is growing among politicians and business leaders that the abolition could have a deleterious effect on local and national business. Sue Hayman, the Labour MP for Workington, said: “I was shocked to discover the impact that cuts to contractors’ travel and subsistence expenses could have on our local economy in West Cumbria. Local industry relies heavily on contractors and temporary workers, as do our schools and hospitals. We already struggle to attract staff for vital services, and this […]

    PRISM: strategic review needed to achieve simplified tax regime

    February 3rd, 2016

    A leading tax expert has declared that a strategic review of the entire legislative framework concerning contracting professionals is necessary if the government is to achieve a simplified tax system. Crawford Temple, CEO of trade association PRISM, explained that the existing tax framework was created in an era when everyone was either employed or self-employed; however, these traditional categories fail to encompass the UK’s flexible workers who, at over 10 per cent of the working population, are now too numerous to “brush them under the carpet”. Mr Temple enumerated six key outcomes a review would achieve: A simplified and more easily-understandable tax system. Proper recognition of the different sectors of […]

    £30m government funding for UK aerospace companies

    February 1st, 2016

    UK aerospace supply chain companies are to benefit from a new injection of government funding to help them to enhance their growth and competitiveness. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has ploughed an additional £30m from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) into the Sharing in Growth (SiG) programme, which helps businesses to secure jobs and contracts by introducing world-class skills, business, leadership and shopfloor practices. To date, companies on the SiG programme have secured contracts worth in excess of £1bn, which have generated approximately 1,500 new jobs. Describing the UK aerospace sector as a world leader, Sajid Javid, the business secretary, said: “The UK aerospace sector supports around […]

    NHS agency staff spending caps could threaten patients

    January 29th, 2016

    Restrictions on NHS spending on agency workers introduced in November last year are already deterring contracting medical professionals from filling temporary vacancies, new data from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) suggests. 73 per cent of healthcare recruiters report struggling to find contracting doctors and nurses willing to take temporary roles, while 80 per cent are only able to fill around half of the requests coming from NHS trusts. The cause is a fall in the number of doctors and nurses who are prepared to occupy temporary roles in NHS wards. A new round of spending restrictions is scheduled to kick in on Monday 1st February. 67 per cent of […]

    Hiring strategies must be “flexible”, says REC

    January 27th, 2016

    83 per cent of the 600 UK employers polled in the latest JobsOutlook survey from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) plan to increase their employee headcounts over the coming three months. While 80 per cent of respondents are confident that economic conditions are improving, 94 per cent are struggling to take on additional work with their current staffing levels, making additional hiring a priority if they are to capitalise on improving growth conditions in the UK. This may prove rather more difficult than they would like, however, as candidate availability continues to tighten. This makes it more likely that employers will need to take a thoughtful approach to sourcing […]

    Skills shortage solution could generate £27bn per year

    January 25th, 2016

    With two recent surveys highlighting a worsening skills shortage in the UK labour market, the Open University is calling for universities and businesses to work more closely together to upskill their workforces. Last week’s figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed a six per cent increase in the number of unfilled roles between December 2014 and December 2015, despite continued growth in employment; meanwhile, the latest CBI/Accenture Employment Trends Survey found that 52 per cent of the hiring decision-makers polled believe that developing and sustaining digital skills has taken on an added urgency. The lack of suitably-skilled candidates is already impacting productivity, with engineering companies reporting a shortfall of […]

    Industry bodies collaborate on impact of T&S changes

    January 22nd, 2016

    Four major industry bodies have joined forces to oppose the planned abolition of Travel and Subsistence (T&S) tax relief in April this year. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD), the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA) are asking businesses to help them to collect evidence on the impact this development will have on them. Respondents have until 29th January to complete a survey, which can be found by clicking here. From April, an estimated 750,000 workers will be affected, including numerous Umbrella Company Employees. Most will see their income plummet by at least £3,500 per annum […]

    APSCo rebuts NHS agency clampdown claims

    January 20th, 2016

    The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has criticised the Department of Health for implying that recently-introduced price caps for staffing agencies have saved the NHS millions of pounds. In a statement published earlier this month, the Department of Health said figures released by health regulator NHS Improvement showed the amount hospitals had spent on management consultants had fallen by £42million as a result of a crackdown on the use of agency staff. However, APSCo said that while figures compare spending between July and September 2014 with spending between July and September 2015, the price caps and framework mandates were not introduced until November 2015. APSCo Head of External Relations […]

    T&S changes impact on supply teachers downplayed

    January 18th, 2016

    The government stands accused of deliberately downplaying the effect of travel and subsistence changes after Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Sharp of Guildford unsuccessfully petitioned ministers for answers. The baroness, a former economist, tabled a question in the House of Lords enquiring about the damage that could be caused to the education department when supply teachers are barred from claiming tax relief on T&S in response to a request for help from service provider trade association PRISM. Speaking on behalf of the government, Lord O’Neill of Gatley was forced to admit that official estimates of the impact on schools and supply teachers had still not been made. The YES2T&S campaign aims […]

    IT crisis to drive contractor demand?

    January 15th, 2016

    Umbrella Companies supplying contracting IT professionals are poised to see unprecedented demand for their talent with the UK facing the worst information technology skills shortage in Europe. Recent IT glitches experienced by HSBC, which resulted in its online banking going down intermittently over the course of two days, Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland, were the result of a shortage of qualified IT talent rather than a lack of awareness regarding vulnerabilities, according to Telegraph Technology News Editor James Titcomb. Although this crisis is international, the shortage of IT talent in the UK is especially acute, with the European Commission estimating that the UK’s shortfall of 555,000 qualified IT […]