CAMPAIGN BREAKTHROUGH? Sajid Javid announces Conservatives will review IR35 in 2020 but must now confirm halt to the Off-Payroll Tax roll-out

30 Nov 2019

In a potential breakthrough for the Stop The Off-Payroll Tax campaign, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, has announced that they will review the controversial IR35 legislation next year, if they win the election.

The announcement came on the BBC Radio 4 programme MoneyBox, hosted by Paul Lewis. Sajid Javid said:  

“One thing in particular that I want to look at again are the proposed changes to IR35”.

“I want to make sure that the proposed changes are right to take forward.”

When asked if he might put off the roll-out of the off-payroll rules to the private sector he replied:

“This is a review. I don’t want to preempt the review.”

“We will be having a review. I think it would make sense to include the proposed IR35 changes in that review.”

The final statement does suggest that the intention is to pause the Off-Payroll Tax roll-out, but the Stop The Off-Payroll Tax is calling on Sajid Javid and the Conservatives to make that clear. The IR35 Off-Payroll Tax roll-out to the private sector is something that the Conservative Government had been intending to do before the election and had included in the draft Finance Bill published in July. They had intended to include it in the November budget, and to commence in April 2020. 

The Stop the Off-Payroll Tax campaign has written to the Chancellor asking for this clarification and also asking to meet with him to discuss the issue and how a genuine review might look at how best to recognise contracting and freelancing in the tax system. Just last week, the campaign wrote to Sajid Javid asking for him to commit to include a review of IR35 in the review into self-employment announced in the Conservative manifesto

The announcement is a testament to the powerful campaigning of over 2000 Stop The Off-Payroll Tax campaigners, who have been lobbying MPs and election candidates asking them to support the UK’s flexible workforce and back the Stop The Off-Payroll Tax campaign. 

This announcement from the Conservatives is the latest development from a political party. Both the Liberal Democrats and SNP have both included a review of IR35 in their manifestos too, which must mean halting the IR35 roll-out and then properly reviewing how best to tax contracting and freelancing. 

Labour’s position is still unclear, following tweets from Shadow Ministers saying that it was their position to pause and review, which were then deleted suggesting this was not the party’s agreed position. The Stop The Off-Payroll Tax campaign wrote to the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, asking for confirmation of the party’s policy on the Off-Payroll Tax.

The Off-Payroll Tax will damage business in the UK and will see many contractors and freelancers losing their jobs and (according to HMRC) over 150,000 being forced to accept lower pay of up to a quarter.   

Commenting, Dave Chaplin, Director of the Stop The Off-Payroll Tax campaign and CEO of ContractorCalculator said:

“It’s a big breakthrough that follows all the pressure from the Stop The Off-Payroll Tax campaigners. The Conservatives have finally realised that the Off-Payroll Tax is a big vote loser and have now announced an IR35 review.   

“Any genuine review must of course involve halting the Off-Payroll Tax roll-out to the private sector, so Sajid Javid must now make that absolutely clear, if the Conservatives want to win back the trust of the UK’s contracting and freelancing community. So we have written to Sajid Javid asking him to meet with representatives from the Stop The Off-Payroll Tax campaign, so we can discuss how a genuine review can explore how best to recognise contracting and freelancing in the tax sector. 

“It’s now clear that the damaging Off-Payroll Tax is an election issue, so we urge the whole sector to come together and stop this damaging measure going ahead. We now urge all contractors, freelancers and sector organisations to join our 2,000 campaigners and supportive organisations to lobby every single election candidate, asking them to help stop the Off-Payroll Tax.”


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