As the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats start to tell the public details about their manifesto so have the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), with one calling for a delay to IR35 and the other calling to scrap it.
The REC’s manifesto ‘Making Great Work Happen’ calls on the new government to:
- To delay IR35 until it is clear that compliant firms will not lose out with effective regulation of umbrella companies
- Design policy for flexible workers as the new norm and ensure the apprenticeship levy works for flexible workers too
- A new focus on staff engagement and to promote productivity growth, opportunity and inclusion, the REC wants to work with government on a new ‘Good Recruitment Taskforce’ to help drive good recruitment
- Building an immigration policy that works for our economy and public services by addressing skills and labour shortages
- Engaging with business on making sure the UK is ready for the work of the future, and that public policy can keep step.
IPSE’s manifesto #5millionvotes draws on the size and influence of the self-employed sector in the election. The self-employed are now 15 per cent of the workforce.
- Scrapping IR35 and ending the confusion over the Loan Charge to unleash the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit
- Give the Small Business Commissioner more powers to clamp down on late payment – including ‘naming and shaming’ and even fining the worst offenders
- Work with industry to create products that are tailored to help the self-employed put money away for retirement
- Extend Shared Parental Leave (SPL) to the self-employed and give them the same paternity/maternity pay rights as employees
- Help revive Britain’s struggling high streets by incentivising the creation of work hubs in empty premises.
Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC, said:
This election should be about work. After all, few things matter more to people. Policies to make great work happen should be a priority for any incoming government.
Businesses are ready to work with the next government to ensure the jobs market remains strong and versatile. This is why we call on all parties to ensure their manifestos help to make great work happen. Putting people at the heart of the industrial strategy – including through good recruitment – is an essential part of addressing the UK’s productivity problem.
Our call on broadening the apprenticeship levy to support the UK’s flexible workforce is a measure of how serious any government is about work. Policies which are designed to exclude temporary and part-time workers need to be consigned to history – a much more flexible approach is needed.
Delaying IR35 implementation is not about avoiding change – it is about making sure change is effective. Without adequate time for businesses and HMRC to prepare, there is a huge risk that compliant firms and contractors will lose out to the non-compliant.
Simon McVicker, IPSE director of policy and external affairs, said:
This will be a hugely important election for the country. Therefore, it is vital that all political parties remember that, regardless of Brexit, there are 5 million self-employed votes out there up for grabs.
From building a modern tax system to ending the culture of late payment and boosting the number of co-working spaces, we believe all parties should be listening to the needs of the self-employed and outlining policies that will make a difference to them.
The self-employed could prove decisive in dozens of marginal constituencies across the UK. All parties would do well to remember this and IPSE will be working hard during the campaign to get the message out there.