The leading tax advice company for contracting professionals, Qdos Contractor, is supporting a “softer Brexit” approach after a new study found that just 18 per cent of Umbrella Company Employees and other freelancers expect Britain’s withdrawal from the EU to improve their prospects.

Such an approach to Brexit would help reinvigorate freelancer confidence, the company said.

Qdos’ survey of 1350 contracting and freelancing professionals found that:

  • 18 per cent of the respondents believe that Brexit will have a positive effect on their business performance.
  • 44 per cent believe that their business will not be affected one way or the other by Brexit.
  • 38 per cent expect Brexit to produce negative effects on their business performance.
  • 70 per cent report that the do not currently work on projects in the rest of Europe and have no plans to do so.

Commenting on the findings, Qdos Contractor’s CEO, Seb Maley, acknowledged that since Article 50 has already been triggered, the UK will now proceed to negotiate its withdrawal from the European Union, excepting any large and wholly unforeseen political U-turns. Yet, as less than a fifth of freelancers and contractors have any faith that this will be of any benefit to their prospects, the issue and how it is handled remains a matter of concern.

Mr Maley said that there is little doubt that the continuing uncertainty around the country’s withdrawal negotiations with the EU has played an appreciable part in denting freelancers’ optimism.

Despite the chaos ensuing from last week’s “hung Parliament” General Election result, there is now a new possibility that a “softer” form of Brexit may be secured, Mr Maley added. This development could play an important part in revitalising the flagging confidence that has been dogging the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Urging Brexit negotiators to grasp the opportunity as they prepare for withdrawal talks, Mr Maley continued: “That the majority of freelancers asked currently do not work on projects across Europe and currently do not plan to is insignificant when it comes to securing a deal that benefits the UK’s independent workforce. And that 44% of freelancers and contractors asked do not expect Brexit to affect their business at all can be considered a positive, particularly in times of uncertainty.”

Despite this, he added, Brexit negotiators should prioritise access to the single market along with the free movement of people and workers. He concluded: “Freelancers and contractors are vital to business, essential to the UK economy and should be factored strongly in any exit plans.”

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