PAYE umbrella contractors working north of the border face a potentially worrying time in the near future with Scottish Referendum Bill scheduled for Autumn 2014; however, a leading Scottish politician has reassured delegates from the PCG that Scotland has no intention of turning its back on the country’s contracting community.
The Scottish Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Minister in the SNP Cabinet, Fergus Ewing MSP, recently met with leading members of the PCG in Edinburgh, who sought answers about the fate of Scottish contractors working through umbrella companies or limited companies as the prospect of Scottish Independence looms. In particular, PCG representatives were keen to seek assurances that contractors would not be disadvantaged, whichever way the referendum result goes.
Mr Ewing appeared keen to understand the barriers faced by contractors in Scotland and made it clear that he wished them to feel free to sell their services and run their businesses. He recognised that working as a lone contractor can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation, but he was emphatic that the Scottish economy welcomed self-employed people.
The PCG delegates, headed by leading members Simon McVicker (Head of Public Affairs) and Gary Sharp, also met with shadow ministers from the other Holyrood parties and raised similar concerns with them. Labour MSP Ken Macintosh, the Shadow Minister for Enterprise, expressed an interest in face-to-face meetings with Scottish PCG members, which the organisation plans to organise later in 2012.
Those who earn their daily bread through contracting can, it seems, derive some comfort from the fact that, whatever the referendum result, leading politicians are not being permitted to ignore the needs of the Scottish contracting community.