Contractors Labour IR35 Dreams
Contractors Labour IR35 dreams were cruelly smashed yesterday. Labour Shadow Minister, Bill Esteson, told a meeting set up by contractors group IPSE that Labour would scrap the Conservatives IR35 reforms due to come into effect in April 2020. He confirmed this the next day via Twitter.
It set off a tidal wave in the Freelancer community. There was delight mingled with a little shock at this good news. Lot’s of contractors decided to vote Labour.
However, it turned out to be incorrect. What we, and IPSE, reported was correct in terms of reporting what Bill said. It seems that there is a video of the meeting and what he said.
Contractor Questions on Labour IR35 Dreams
- Was Bill Esteson Promise to Contractors on IR35 Labour Party Policy?
- What did Bill Esteson actually tell contractors?
- What did he say the next day?
- What are the Labour Party Actually Promising on IR35?
- What Promises Did the Conservatives make to Contractors over IR35 in 2010?
- What Should Labour and Lib Dems Offer Contractors on IR35?
- Who Are the Worst Party on IR35?
- Why are Lots of Contractor Votes Up for Grabs?
Was Bill Esteson Promise to Contractors on IR35 Labour Party Policy
However, the problem was that what Bill Esteson was telling contractors was not Labour Party policy. It wasn’t in the Manifesto. However, most issues relating to freelancers don’t go in the Manifestos as they are not considered important enough.
Major changes to IR35 etc are not usually mentioned in the Budget. They are in the Notes afterwards.
So, it wasn’t crucial that this promise on IR35 is not in the Manifesto.
What did Bill Esteson actually tell contractors
So, what did Bill Esteson actually say at the meeting?
He said “It should never have been implemented in one go. We absolutely cannot see it rolled out into the private sector the way things are at the moment.”
He was asked if this was official Labour Party policy and he said that it was.
He said “In the public sector, it is….. causing real problems for self-employed professionals who need to get contracts. It is causing real problems for the public sector as well.
“We are seeing a reduction in the availability of skilled workers in the health service and elsewhere as a result,” Mr Esterson said, adding – crucially. “There needs to be a fundamental review.”
What did he say the next day
I think he was clear enough here. The next morning via Twitter he confirmed that it is Labour Party policy.
IPSE sent out a Press Release in good faith. We published it in good faith.
There was only one problem with it.
It isn’t actually Labour Party policy.
You would have thought that the Labour Party Shadow Minister for Small Business would know what Labour Party policy was for small businesses.
I’m told that it was more wishful thinking than an attempt to deceive.
I’m also told that Bill Esteson is actually a good ally in Parliament of contractors – and we don’t have many of those.
What are the Labour Party Actually Promising on IR35
It seems he says now that Labour would review the IR35 reforms if they came to power but that they are issuing no promises that the April 2020 reforms would be stopped – until after a review.
The Lib Dems are offering a review of IR35 as well.
Both of them recommend that contractors inside IR35 should get employee benefits
However, that’s not good enough.
It’s not definite enough.
We’ve been here before.
What Promises Did the Conservatives make to Contractors over IR35 in 2010
The Conservatives in 2010 told IPSE and others that they would abolish IR35 when they came to power. Their Manifesto said that they would “look at” IR35 again They did – and they kept it. Not only that but they have continued to strengthen IR35 at every opportunity.
I know we are punishing Labour and the Lib Dems for the sins of the Conservatives.
However, freelancers will not be fooled twice.
What Should Labour and Lib Dems Offer Contractors on IR35
Labour and the Lib Dems would have to offer contractors more than just a ‘review’. They would have to offer something more definite. They have only two weeks to do it.
We saw yesterday how a tidal wave of contractors rejoiced after this false promise.
IR35 is the most important issue to most of the UK’s self employed. It is more important to most of then than the National Health Service or Brexit.
There are 5m of them and their political allegiances are pretty soft.
If someone was to promise something good on IR35 then they could receive a massive dividend from contractors votes.
Who Are the Worst Party on IR35
I doubt if the Conservatives, who are worst party on IR35, will feel the need to promise anything to contractors with their huge lead in the polls.
The SNP are the most contractor friendly party on IR35 – but they are only in Scotland.
Labour and the Lib Dems are offering a ‘review’ of IR35.
That’s not good enough. If Bill Esterson’s promise had turned out to be Labour Party policy they could have received a huge amount of contractor votes.
Supposedly, being 11% behind in the polls they are going to target Leave voters in he north.
Most people have made their minds up ages ago about Brexit.
Why are Lots of Contractor Votes Up for Grabs
However, the contractor community have the softest of soft votes. Many would change their minds straight away on which party they will vote for if they got a proper promise on IR35.
It’s all to play for.
What about it Labour and the Lib Dems?
Your ‘review’ is not enough.
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