Did the self-employed make a sizable difference in the election?

In total there were 186 seats in the 2019 General Election where there were a higher amount of freelancers/contractors than the sitting MPs majority, placing a significant role on these professionals for the Conservative majority win.

This was discovered by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) who believe the 5 million self-employed votes in the UK had a sizable impact on the 2019 results.

IPSE also believes this portion of the vote was a pivotal part of the Conservatives taking down Labour’s “Red Wall”. IPSE explains how the self-employed were seen as an important part of the vote as all four main political parties agreed to review IR35.

As well as agreeing to review IR35, the Conservatives also pledged to better support the self-employed and improve their access to finances.

Julia Kermode, chief executive of The Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA) spoke very positively about the Conservative’s manifesto.

Ms Kermode said:

We welcome the Conservative’s commitment to support businesses and it is good to hear them pledge to help small businesses, family firms and the self-employed.  Their plan to better support the self-employed is also welcome providing improved access to finance and credit and making the tax system easier to navigate. Their Red Tape Challenge is also something FCSA welcomes to ensure that regulation is sensible and proportionate.  Small businesses have been hindered by red tape and administrative burdens for far too long.  We have seen enormous amounts of legislation impacting businesses in recent years and this needs to stop now to allow for a period of consolidation so that businesses can be free to concentrate on what they do best, which is essential given the current economic uncertainty.

We need a tax system that is easier to navigate for self-employed people given the inherent complexities of IR35 – giving the Office of Tax Simplification more resources, scope and power would be a step in the right direction.  The Conservative Manifesto is full of welcome commitments which are easy to make but quite another thing to deliver.

The following morning of the General Election, the main issue that contractor groups wished to remind Boris Johnson of was the promise to review IR35.

Dave Chaplin CEO and founder of contracting authority ContractorCalculator and director of StopThe Off-Payroll Tax campaign, which campaigns against the rollout of the “off-payroll rules” said:

In the run up to this election we heard a number of political parties pledge to review IR35 and as Boris Johnson re-enters No. 10 I would like to remind him of that promise.  Having a complex employment status test at the heart of the tax system hasn’t worked for 20 years under the intermediaries legislation and hasn’t worked under the new rules in the public sector either.  The Off-Payroll rules in their current proposed format create an unfairly burdensome scenario which has the potential to poison the entire engagement process between contractor, client and agency.

It will force thousands of contractors into false employment, expose self-employed contractors to excessive taxation as well as depriving UK plc. of essential access to talent and key skills and drive up project costs.  Combined, this will work to further incite tax non-compliance and tax evasion.

I would urge the Prime Minister to now confirm that he will conduct a proper review, put the Off-Payroll roll-out on hold and work with the contracting community and stakeholders on devising how best to recognise contracting and freelancing in the tax system.  An Off-Payroll review should be put right at the top of his agenda as he takes up office again.