Does the Government want contractors to become permanent employees?

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A recent survey amongst UK contractors found a deep level of resentment brought about by the Governments’ current attitude towards the industry. 

In the survey a massive 60% of contractors surveyed believed the Government’s current behaviour is very discouraging.  Indeed, only a dismal 8% believe they are seen as a valuable part of the countries’ workforce. 

Feelings differ however where industry is concerned with an encouraging 46% holding the view that businesses value contractors. 

Such antipathy towards the Government doubtless stems from legislation in April of this year which restricted travel and subsistence relief for workers of umbrella or limited companies caught inside IR35.  What with changes in the way dividends are taxed and more iR35 changes set to be announced in the Autumn Statement next week it is little wonder contractors are feeling slightly marginalised. 

Contractors believe that they provide specialist skills that the public would not otherwise be able to easily access and in return the Government is seeking to make it harder for them to work, enforcing constant tax changes and, there is a dominant suspicion, trying to push them into permanent employment. 

An interesting note from the survey was relative calm around the current Brexit upheaval.  Indeed, only 26% of contractors believed it would make it harder for them to work and it 11% felt it would make things easier. 

Figures also indicated how reliant contractors still are on recruiters when looking for work.  40% of those surveyed indicated they would use a recruiter when looking for their next job, with 30% looking to job boards and only 26% relying on their own contact network.  

This however presents a problem when we consider the proposed intermediaries’ legislation for the public sector.  Here recruiters, the public body or third party paying a contractor will henceforth be responsible for finding out if contractors fall within IR35.

With all these changes with a potential for a massive negative impact on the workforce it is small wonder contractor feel their place in the labour market is underappreciated and being undermined

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