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    Crystal News

    Demand for IT contractors with IoT expertise is exploding

    April 29th, 2016

    Major opportunities are opening up in the UK and Europe for contracting IT professionals with know-how about the Internet of Things (IoT), professional services company Procorre has revealed. In fact, Procorre is warning that demand from businesses for contracting consultants who can advise on IoT matters is growing so rapidly that there is a danger of it outstripping supply in the coming months.More and more organisations beyond the technology sector are adopting or planning to adopt IoT strategies, driving an unprecedented demand for skilled consultants capable of managing the transition. IoT technology enables devices to connect to and communicate with other devices, applications and users via the Internet. IoT-enabled devices […]

    Contractors and freelancers contribute £109bn-plus to the economy

    April 27th, 2016

    The contribution made by freelancing and contracting professionals to the UK economy soared to £109bn last year, new research from the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) has found. The study, launched at IPSE’s flagship conference yesterday, suggests that the £109 billion total is actually a conservative estimate: freelancers (including Umbrella Company Employees and other contracting workers) are likely to contribute even more revenue. As they are predominantly made up of highly skilled, specialist professionals, their contribution is typically considerably higher than that of other businesses. Freelancers and contractors now account for six per cent of the UK’s workforce, climbing in number by 36 per cent since […]

    FCSA challenges “unjustified” public sector contractor tax review

    April 25th, 2016

    Plans by HMRC to consult on taxing public sector contracting professionals as employees and placing them onto the payroll have been challenged by the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA). The FCSA was moved to act following a study reported by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in order to “ensure that temporary staff pay the right tax.” The study refers to research conducted by Government departments seeking assurances on the tax status of temporary staff. During a recent FCSA-organised compliance seminar, a senior HMRC policy adviser asserted that only ten per cent of public sector contracting professionals who should apply IR35 rules actually do so. However, the FCSA has drawn […]

    Temporary employment eases year-on-year but climbs on last quarter

    April 22nd, 2016

    Despite uncertainty in the global economy, increased employer costs and the possibility of a “Brexit”, permanent and temporary/contracting employment in the UK is “levelling off.” This is the verdict of CBI Director for Employment and Skills Neil Carberry, who was speaking about newly released labour market figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Seasonally adjusted data released this week by the ONS showed temporary/contracting employment easing by 2.5 per cent year-on-year in the three months ending in February 2016.  During these three months, temporary/contracting workers constituted 6.2 per cent of all employees compared to 6.4 per cent during the same period last year. Viewed on a quarter-by-quarter basis, though, […]

    FCSA challenges misleading media claims about Umbrellas and T&S relief

    April 20th, 2016

    The Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA) has moved to challenge misleading assertions about Umbrella Companies made in a recent article in the Guardian. The newspaper’s article suggested that the leading recruitment company 1st Step Solutions had advised some of the UK’s top construction companies to redesignate temporary staff of some of the country’s biggest building sites as “unsupervised” in order to elude the Government’s tough new supervision, direction or control (SDC) rules. In so doing, the reclassified workers would, the recruiter implied, be able to go on claiming tax relief on travel and subsistence expenses, which the Chancellor expressly set out to abolish in the March Budget. The Guardian’s […]

    Experts predict new IR35 rules will net most PSC contractors

    April 18th, 2016

    The new IR35 rules we reported on last week will have the effect of redesignating virtually all contracting professionals via their own limited companies as subject to the regulations, employment tax experts have declared. The new rules, which were announced in last month’s Budget, are expressly aimed at clamping down on the use of limited companies (also known as personal service companies, or PSCs), not only in the public sector but eventually in the private sector as well, experts forecast. Addressing a seminar organised by the Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA) last week, the Executive Director of professional services company EY, John Chaplin, predicted that most public sector organisations […]

    SNP tables Finance Bill amendment to secure tax review for contractors

    April 15th, 2016

    The Scottish National Party – the third largest political party in the House of Commons – has tabled an amendment to the Finance Bill in a move to bring about a long-awaited strategic review of the taxation system to gain recognition for contracting workers. SNP Treasury spokesman Roger Mullin has drafted the amendment, which, if included in the Bill, will require the Chancellor to come back in six months with the findings of the review. The move follows discussions between Mr Mullin and Umbrella Company trade association PRISM, which has been pushing for the review for several months. PRISM believes that the review is necessary to secure proper recognition for […]

    HMRC announces new IR35 tests for PSC contractors

    April 13th, 2016

    In the wake of rule changes abolishing tax relief on travel and subsistence (T&S) expenses for Umbrella Company Employees, independent professionals contracting through their own limited companies (personal services companies, or PSCs) are to face a new test to determine whether they fall within or outside IR35. HMRC senior policy lead Julie de Brito told a seminar in London that the Government intends to introduce the new tests, including a new digital tool, for workers contracting through PSCs in the public sector in April next year. De Brito announced: “We are going to be consulting on simpler tests and developing an online tool. “The whole point is that the engager […]

    New HMRC guidance closes T&S ‘loophole’ for Umbrella Companies

    April 11th, 2016

    The Government has acted to close what a number of Umbrella Companies had seen as a loophole that may have permitted the contracting professionals on their books to continue to claim tax relief on travel and subsistence (T&S) expenses. Umbrella Company trade body PRISM had campaigned vigorously to force a rethink on the controversial tax relief shutdown, but ultimately to no avail. Its CEO, Crawford Temple, said that some Umbrellas had subsequently taken the view that, so long as the contracting worker was not named, he or she would not be subject to supervision, direction or control (SDC) and would therefore be entitled to go on claiming T&S relief, despite […]

    Permanent hiring slows as contractor hiring accelerates, says REC

    April 8th, 2016

    Recruitment agencies participating in the latest Markit/REC Report on Jobs survey report that billings for temporary/contracting placements rose at their sharpest rate in four months during March. While placements for Umbrella Company Employees and other temporary/contracting staff appears to have quickened significantly, the rate of growth for permanent placements eased appreciably, falling to its lowest pace in six months. The data reveals a softening in demand for staff, with overall growth in vacancy numbers slowing to its lowest rate in 33 months. This was true of both permanent and temporary/contracting staff. These trends converge with another: the continuing deterioration in candidate availability, which worsened further during March. The availability of […]