Categorized | alan's blog, ir35 rules

Bad News, Good News?

Bad News, Good News?

So where was I…? Back refreshed from two weeks of idleness in the sun, and already looking for the next contract. Don’t seem to have missed anything too serious while I was away.

I managed to get back just in time for the Coalition’s first Budget. I watched it live – oh the joys of being on the bench – and for the first time in 13 years I didn’t have an overwhelming urge to throw something heavy at the TV. What a pleasure it was to listen to someone who sounded like they both knew what was going on and was willing to be honest about it.

Of course, the underlying message isn’t very nice, which is not much of a surprise unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last five years, but you have to say that the overall tone was actually surprisingly positive.

Yes, it’s going to hurt, but we knew that anyway. We’ve had the usual suspects leaping up and down in a fury about a return to Dickensian England and the public sector is up in arms about facing the same pain that private industry has been through already, but all in all I thought it was quite well judged. Let’s just hope that it has the desired result!

With my freelance hat on, it was actually pretty much neutral. I’m not planning on opening a new company and employing people so the National Isurance incentives won’t touch me the slightest, but they will help people who do want to build up their businesses. The eventual VAT rise will hurt of course, but it’s only 25p extra on something costing £10, so personally I can live with that.

The personal tax allowances are nice as well, as is the promised reduction in Corporation Tax rates. As a jobbing freelance contractor – well, when I get a job that is – I’m actually quite relaxed about it all.

The other bit of news tucked away in the Red Book (or as Cameron said to Harman at PMQs this week, in her case the “unread” book) was a clear commitment to look hard at IR35. This was backed up by an interview in the Telegraph, where Mark Prisk emphasised the intention to lose IR35 altogether.

Welcome news indeed, although we won’t break out the champagne until we know exactly what is going to come after it.

Elsewhere in the real world I’ve been plunged back in to the chaos and misery of having to deal with agencies offering work that they don’t understand on behalf of clients they don’t know to contractors they don’t want to talk to and whose CVs they utterly fail to understand. I’ve spoken to five this week and have absolutely zero confidence they know what they’re doing.

Call me an old curmudgeon but in my not inconsiderable experience it’s about one in fifty that does the job they way they tell the clients they do, so I guess I’ve a few more pointless and frustrating phone calls to get through yet. Come the revolution, I know who I’ll be putting against the wall first

Still, let’s be positive, if the reaction to the budget is positive, there may actually be some real work out there.

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Image: Meet the Knuckles by KayVee.INC

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