The British central government administration has been accused of “appalling complacency” for its failure to properly assess the impact of potential tax legislation on its budgets.
The 2015 autumn statement is set to announce controversial changes to travel and subsistence (T&S) relief. Experts believe the new proposals, which will come into force in April 2016, will have a disastrous impact on the availability of flexible workers and hit essential public services.
Trade body PRISM has highlighted the indifference from Whitehall to the T&S reforms after quizzing departments about whether they had taken steps to assess the impact of tax policy changes.
All the departments using freedom of information laws, including those in charge of transport, climate change, health, energy and education, said they had not carried out any research or assessments to gauge the impact of the contractor clampdown.
PRISM CEO Crawford Temple said: “The lack of planning and horizon scanning by departments responsible for some of our most treasured public services demonstrates appalling complacency.
How can you plan for expenditure if you don’t foresee the most flexible workers, those you turn to when gaps appear, expecting significantly more for their time.”
Mr Temple added that the Ministry of Defence had not taken the changes seriously, as it apparently believed that it would be unaffected due to only meeting travel expenses in “exceptional circumstances”. The Department for Transport also said an assessment was not required as the impact would be “negligible”.
PRISM is currently attempting to defeat Chancellor George Osborne’s plans with its own Yes2T&S campaign and is urging contractors to get involved by sending the campaign email to their local MPs.