Here is the Press Release:-
PCG has had a series of meetings with various political parties and have found these discussions both fruitful and productive. We detect from all political sides a desire for a revision of IR35 legislation and indeed we received a boost in our battle for fairness over this invidious tax only last month.
In a letter to PCG Chairman‘s Chris Bryce, the Shadow Business Minister, Mark Prisk MP said that due to PCG’s strong representations to him and to Shadow Treasury Ministers “a Conservative Government would undertake a fundamental review of small business taxation matters, including IR35.”
PCG‘s clear understanding from our series of face-to-face talks is that the Conservatives would set IR35 as a priority for a newly established Office of Tax Simplification.
This body will be made up of tax experts with whom PCG would work closely.
In the letter Mark Prisk went on to say:
“…we recognise and value the contribution of freelancers and we are well aware of the way in which the current Government has treated them. We want to deal with this problem comprehensively, in a way which provides us all with a lasting solution, not a short term fix.”
IR35 has, since 1999, caused massive and unjustifiable problems for freelancers. Despite this, the nation’s 1.4 million freelancers still contribute £21 billion to the economy. It’s time to look at making the whole system clearer, fairer and better for all.
Commenting on the letter from the Conservative Shadow Business Minister, PCG‘s Chris Bryce said:
“This shows that the Conservative Party has been listening to and understanding the messages that PCG has given them. We believe this solution has the potential to lead to a fairer and more workable tax regime for the vast majority of those who work freelance. PCG, however, will not be complacent.
‘It will continue to make the strongest possible representations to any Government of whatever colour after the Election to remove IR35 which is a grossly unfair and badly drafted piece of legislation.”
Simon McVicker, Head of Public Affairs at PCG said:
‘We are surprised that one e-mail from an unnamed Conservative source questions the real progress made in a series of long and fruitful talks PCG has had with a Conservative team, led by senior frontbench spokesmen.
‘The message we are getting, underlined in the recent statement from Shadow Business Minister Mark Prisk, is a much more positive one. This is a sensitive issue and exceptionally important to PCG‘s 20,000 members; for their sake it is important we get a fair and amicable resolution to this piece of unfair and unworkable legislation that is IR35.’
The Conservative‘s have made no promises on IR35 at all.
If they had intended to abolish it they could easily have said so and got the votes of hundreds of thousands of contractors.
On issues related to Budget cuts they have said that they couldn‘t say where they would come from as they would have to see the books first and don‘t have access to them.
Not the Case
However, this isn‘t the case with IR35.
The Government have published the figures showing that just over £9m a year is collected from it.
That means that if the Conservatives abolished it they would lose just £9m in tax when they are talking in the billions when looking at budget cuts.
However, despite all of the PCG‘s lobbying cajoling and begging they have refused to do that.
As on most other issues, they said that they would ‘˜look at it‘ after they got elected.
The PCG looked foolish rushing out that Press Release as if they had made some major breakthrough in their lobbying efforts.
Sure, I‘ll Marry You
They looked like the naive girl who agreed to have sex with the man after he promised he would marry her later.
Everyone can see that this is no promise at all and they have deliberately phrased it like this to ‘˜get what they wanted‘ from the PCG with the option of ditching them later.
‘˜Looking at‘ is not the same as ‘˜getting rid of‘.
In fact the Tories could as easily decide that they wanted to get more than £9m out of it.
From what someone posted here the Lib Dems have promised to abolish it altogether.
Vince Cable, who would be the Lib Dem Chancellor, was one of the first to sign the Early Day Motion calling for the abolition of IR35.
Surely the PCG, as a neutral organisation, should be getting behind the party who have made the best offer on IR35.
They can‘t argue now that the Lib Dems are unelectable as they are almost certain to be part of the next Government.
And Labour, despite their efforts, aren‘t collecting much tax from IR35.
So, why the big rush to get the Press Release out at the start of the election period with the big news of the Tory ‘˜concession‘?
Surely they are not pushing the case for the Tories (who could have promised to abolish it but conspicuously didn‘t) above that of a party that thinks IR35 should be abolished?
I think we should be told.
To sum up the positions of the parties:-
1. Labour would keep IR35
2. Lib Dems would abolish it
3. Tories would ‘˜look at it again‘.
That‘s quite simple isn‘t it?
An easy decision there for contractors and those that represent them.
Not for the PCG it isn‘t.