Contractors and Freelancers to protest in Westminster against Government plans to decimate the sector
On Wednesday 12th February, contractors and freelancers from all over the UK are heading to Westminster to protest Westminster against Government plans to decimate the sector with the roll-out of the controversial IR35 ‘Off-Payroll Tax’
The Government are pressing ahead with the roll-out despite the devastating effect it is already having on UK contracting and freelancing, with many workers being told they are no longer wanted and with firms sending projects offshore, to avoid having to assess the tax status of flexible and contract workers. Worse still, people are being forced into ‘zero rights employment’ as a result, being taxed as an employee but without receiving any of the benefits or security of employment, no sickness, maternity/paternity or holiday pay, no pension and no employment rights.
The Stop The Off-Payroll Tax campaign has organised the Westminster protest and lobby day for contractors and freelancers and businesses to lobby their MPs and to get across to the Government the damage this ill-considered measure will do. It is now very clear the scale of the damage being done, with many large firms already announcing they are shedding all self-employed contractors. The Off-Payroll Tax was introduced into the public sector in April 2017 and has led to many locum doctors and nurses leaving the NHS and staff shortages in some areas.
MPs are being invited to a drop-in event in Parliament to hear about the reality of how this ill-considered plan will damage contracting and the UK economy. The drop-in is hosted by Tim Farron MP, Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale. Tim Farron has tabled a parliamentary motion, Early Day Motion #13, on the subject.
The drop-in will be preceded by a protest outside Parliament, followed by campaigners walking to the Treasury to deliver a letter calling on the Chancellor to listen, to end the ‘war on contracting,’ and listen to the sector and halt the Off-Payroll Tax roll-out. It is requested that they instead work with the sector to find a solution that best recognises contracting in the tax system.
Contractors and freelancers are being asked to attend and get the message to their own MPs. Contractors, freelancers and others who can attend and lobby their MP should sign up here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Key activity on Wednesday 12th February :
- 11:00 -12.00 Protest outside the Houses of Parliament
- 12.15 Campaigners present a letter to the Treasury.
- 13:30 -15:00 Drop-in session for MPs to meet constituents in the Macmillan Room, Portcullis House hosted by Tim Farron MP.
Dave Chaplin, Director of the Stop the Off-Payroll Tax campaign and CEO of ContractorCalculator said:
“We will be protesting in Westminster on 12th February to try and stop the off-payroll tax from destroying an entire sector and we need contractors and freelancers from all over the UK to join us.
“The Government is pushing ahead with the Off-Payroll Tax roll-out despite the damage this is already causing and despite a general election campaign commitment by the Chancellor, Sajid Javid, to conduct a proper review of the flawed IR35 legislation. Disappointingly, the government instead announced a short consultation prior to the rollout in place of a genuine review of IR35.
“We thank Tim Farron MP for arranging the drop-in event and we hope many MPs will come along and hear about the reality of how this deeply ill-considered policy is destroying UK contracting and will deny many businesses the skilled, flexible workforce they rely on. It’s time for this Government to work with, instead of attacking, UK contracting and we hope MPs will help persuade them to stop the Off-Payroll Tax roll-out and work with the sector going forward.”
Julia Kermode, Chief Executive, Freelancer & Contractor Services Association said:
“The proposed legislation changes are fundamentally flawed and are already having a very detrimental impact on businesses and professional contractors. We are seeing some firms opt for cheaper resources overseas and the potential impact on the UK’s economy is significant.
“Therefore it is essential that we join together for this protest so that we can make ourselves heard by MPs who are the only ones with the power to prevent this disastrous legislation becoming a reality”.
Ian Cass, Managing Director of the Forum of Private Business said:
“Many UK businesses of all sizes rely on a skilled, flexible workforce, yet instead of celebrating and supporting these workers, they are about to do the opposite. Once again the Government’s lack of understanding of the modern flexible economy is about to be exposed, as it yet again meddles with UK business without fully understanding the impact of its actions, which in this case could lead to the decimation of the UK’s contracting and freelancing sector through the IR35 Off-Payroll Tax.
“The Treasury simply cannot deny the mounting evidence of the damage the off-payroll roll-out will do, with many contractors being laid off and with projects lost to other countries. Even at this late stage, they need to actually listen to people in the sector and to announce a pause to the roll-out and instead work with contractors, freelancers and businesses to work out how best to recognise and support flexible workers who are so important to the UK economy”.