New Treasury Minister must listen and Stop The Off-Payroll Tax to avoid damaging the economy

28 May 2019

The Stop the Off-Payroll Tax campaign has welcomed new Treasury Minister, Jesse Norman MP, to his role and has called on him to work with, rather than against, the contracting sector by announcing that he will suspend plans to introduce the controversial Off-Payroll Tax to the private sector.

Jesse Norman, former Minister at the Department for Transport has filled the vacancy left by controversial Treasury Minister Mel Stride, who’s handling of IR35 roll-out and the 2019 Loan Charge led to stinging criticism of him inside and outside Parliament. Stride has been criticised for peddling misinformation and of being “tin-eared” for the way he refused to listen or look at evidence, but there is the expectation that a new Minister will handle the matter differently and take a considered approach.

Having imposed the Off-Payroll Tax – the ‘off-payroll working rules’ – upon the public sector, HMRC is intent on enforcing a private sector rollout. This is despite the impact of the reforms in the public sector, which demonstrated its crippling impact on public sector projects and industry as a whole.

The hope is that Jesse Norman will persuade the Treasury to support and celebrate the UK’s flexile workforce rather than merely do the bidding of an increasingly out-of-control HMRC who are desperate to tax every engagement as employment, even when they clearly aren’t. Making business pay more employment taxes when hiring self-employed workers, without giving them rights, is something we vehemently oppose.

An Early Day Motion, EDM 2379, has also been tabled by Ged Killen, Labour MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West. The EDM, only tabled last week, already has 19 MPs from five parties supporting it and now contractors up and down the country are contacting and visiting their MPs asking them to sign it and back the UK’s flexible workforce. The EDM is here

The Stop the Off-Payroll Tax campaign, led by ContractorCalculator, supported by contractors and small businesses and other organisations, is campaigning to stop the introduction of the damaging off-payroll rules to the private sector and for the Government to instead launch a much-needed review into the deeply flawed IR35 legislation and to come up with the right way to recognise contracting in the tax system.

As things stand, the legislation for the Off-Payroll Tax will be introduced in the Finance Bill this Autumn, 2019 to go live in April 2020 so MPs are being asked to sign the EDM and to show their support to Stop the Off-Payroll Tax campaign!

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

The Stop the Off-Payroll Tax campaign welcomes new Treasury Minister, Jesse Norman MP, to his role and we call on him to work with, rather than against, the contracting sector.

Being appointed just months before the controversial and damaging off-payroll legislation comes in, he must listen and pause and that means announcing as soon as possible that the off-payroll rules will not be rolled out to the private sector this year. That would allow the chance to look at all the wider evidence now available since April 2017, rather than merely following HMRC’s ideological approach as his predecessor did.

We urge all who oppose the Off-Payroll Tax to lobby Mr Norman in the hope we may now have a Treasury Minister who will support the UK’s flexible workforce and British business, rather than attacking it.

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