Budget: Businesses fear tax changes for self-employed

Changes to IR35 are expected in the Autumn Budget announcement due this afternoon, the REC warns that this could result in increased prices for businesses.

Over half (53 per cent) of employers would have to take action if today’s budget introduces new measures which would increase their staff costs because of changes to taxation laws such as IR35, according to a report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

The latest JobsOutlook survey of 600 employers shows that one third (30 per cent) of employers would have to increase their prices and that two in five (42 per cent) respondents expressed concerns that not enough permanent workers would be available to meet their demands, with 40 per cent say the same for temporary agency workers.

Employer confidence has already taken a knock with 33 per cent of employers feeling economic conditions are worsening, compared to just 26 per cent who feel they are improving. This means that confidence in economic conditions remains negative for the fourth consecutive month.

The survey also reveals that 80 per cent of employers say they have none or just a little spare capacity in their organisation to take on more work without new staff and one fifth (22 per cent) of employers still plan to hire additional permanent staff in the next four to 12 months.

REC chief executive Kevin Green says:

“Businesses do not want any change to taxation in today’s budget, which would create more difficulty in attracting and retaining talent. The fact that over half of employers would have to react if they face increased costs is very concerning. We demand that the chancellor does not make a difficult situation even worse for employers.

“At the moment, businesses are still planning to hire – something which is not very easy as the pool of available workers is shrinking. We hope that today will not add another burden to their plans.

“We don’t know how Brexit negotiations will move forward and what this will mean for EU workers here and for UK trade. Bearing this in mind, it is not surprising that a higher number of UK employers still think that the UK economy is deteriorating rather than improving.”

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