The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has briefed the Labour party on tax avoidance issues in the flexible labour market, urging a more nuanced approach to the problem.

APSCo representatives met with Labour Treasury team member Catherine McKinnell MP, who acts as shadow exchequer secretary, and conceded that dubious practices by a minority of recruiters specialising in the blue collar market especially were deserving of censure; however, the unscrupulous behaviour of the few should not be used to bring the contracting and recruitment sectors as a whole into disrepute, APSCo insisted.

Sam Hurley, APSCo’s head of external affairs, expressed her gratitude for the chance to brief the Labour front bench on tax avoidance; however, she was also clear that politicians of all hues must be able to discriminate between vulnerable workers who may be forced into temporary employment and skilled professional contractors who are genuinely self-employed.

She said: “As the parties work towards their manifestos for the 2015 elections, it’s more important than ever that we educate MPs about the particular nuances of the professional recruitment sector and the benefits of the flexible labour market.”

Ms Hurley went on to say that APSCo “absolutely supports” efforts to eradicate tax avoidance, including the misuse of personal service companies and interim arrangements.

She added: “APSCo has always been clear that vulnerability and unscrupulousness are not features of professional recruitment. Meetings like this help to ensure that APSCo members avoid being caught in the cross fire of well-intentioned measures aimed at other sections of the market.”

Employees of tax-compliant PAYE Umbrella Companies, of course, exemplify flexibility with none of the pitfalls of unscrupulous tax avoidance.

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