Now that the conferences of the three major UK political parties are concluded a clearer picture of possible future policies regarding contractors has emerged.
The Conservative Party seem to have plans that will have the greatest effect in this area as they would like HMRC to redefine freelancing. A further goal if they are elected to govern will be to simplify IR35 for contractors. Simplifying employment rules and tax codes to improve the flexibility of labour is also an ambition that they hope to see achieved in the future.
The Liberal Democrats were concerned about zero hour’s contracts. They are worried that the rules are being abused and are investigating whether exclusivity clauses in workers’ contracts should be curtailed.
Ed Milliband’s Labour Party felt that it is necessary to provide greater support for freelance workers, the self-employed and small businesses. Addressing the problems presented by late payments will also be on Labour’s agenda if they regain power. Mr Milliband expressed the opinion that small businesses have had a poor deal under the present coalition administration. Reversing the recent corporation tax cut for larger companies and using the money generated to cut business rates for small businesses would be Labour’s way of encouraging start-ups, and to help existing businesses to flourish.
The Chancellor, George Osborne, defended the present government’s policies on small businesses. He pointed out that the tax rate for such companies had been lowered and some small traders had been exempted from paying business rates.