Contractors working for umbrella companies in the Manchester area will almost certainly endorse recommendations to the Chancellor from a leading industry body in the region, as well as supporting calls for IR35 reform.

George Osborne received a statement issued yesterday by the Greater Manchester Chambers of Commerce, calling on him to ensure that he produces a “robust and convincing” budget capable of generating much-needed economic growth.

In the Greater Manchester area, there is disturbing evidence from the Chamber’s own survey covering the last quarter that domestic economic recovery in the region has, in their terms, “markedly slowed down.” Chris Fletcher, the Chamber’s Chief Executive, urged the Government to do more than repeat rhetoric about delivering pro-growth strategies. The time for talking, he insisted, is over and “the budget must be clear, bold and decisive.”

Businesses have been hampered by uncertainty for too long and this has now seriously eroded confidence since last year’s election, he added, warning the Chancellor to “avoid any temptation to simply tinker with policy.”

Mr Osborne has also received similarly robust warnings on the vexed question of IR35 reform, this time from the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT). CIOT’s President, Andrew Hubbard, urged him to take decisive action on this issue, too. Although Mr Osborne is widely expected to announce the implementation of a key recommendation from the recent OTS review of small business tax – the merger of income tax and national insurance contributions – this will only be achieved in the long term. In the meantime, he must decide whether to suspend or improve the administration of the IR35; to do nothing “is simply not acceptable,” Mr Hubbard added.

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