Reassurances from Matthew Taylor after his modern work review that its proposals will not harm bonafide contractors do not appear to have eased concerns that they will.
In fact, since the review’s publication, a tax firm, a status advisory and a charity have all sounded alerts that genuine one-person traders should be unaffected — but might not be.
It is an alert that Mr Taylor tried to head off, not only in the main body of his report, but also to the BBC immediately after it was published. The RSA boss told Radio 4’s Money Box:
“Nothing I’m proposing is going to increase the burdens of self-employed people.” He then clarified he was referring to what a thinktank has called the ‘privileged self-employed.’
But precisely how the review’s proposals (“eminently implementable,” Mr Taylor has said), will be interpreted or consulted upon could lead to new burdens.
It is hoped that any policy initiatives that come from the review are not so wide-reaching as to have an adverse effect on professional contractors as they do not face the same issues as those at the focus of this review.
The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group, a charity, implies it is not money that makes people who work for themselves want to be exempt from the review’s proposals; it is their status.
Responding to the review after its publication, LITRG appealed: “Government should avoid imposing burdens on genuinely self-employed individuals who operate alone”.
We at Speedy agree, there is a difference that exists between workers such as Uber drivers and Deliveroo riders — who might well need protection – and the UK’s professional freelancer and contractor workforce.
However, not all in the ‘gig economy’ want protecting. At a party just before his review’s publication, Mr Taylor admitted he told a man who drove for money for a few hours a week that his review may help him. But the driver shrugged and told him: “I don’t want new rights.”