Eleven leading organisations representing the UK’s thousands of contractors and freelancers have written an open letter to the new Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid. They are calling on them to change course and end the previous Government’s ‘war on contracting’ by stopping the Loan Charge and the Off-Payroll Tax and requesting that they work collaboratively with the sector.
The Stop The Off-Payroll Tax campaign, the Loan Charge Action Group, the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA), ContractorCalculator, Contractoruk.com, Freelanceuk.com, IT Contracting, Prism, the Forum of Private Business and WTT Consulting/WTT Big Group and Professional Passport have come together to take a stand on behalf of the UK’s thousands of contractors and freelancers.
The two key demands are that they:
- Suspend the Loan Charge before 30th September 2019 and order the independent review that the Prime Minister agreed was necessary during his leadership bid and has supported in a letter to the previous Chancellor.
- Announce that the Government will remove the roll-out of the Off-Payroll Tax from the draft Finance Bill and request that the Treasury work with the contracting and freelancing sector to reassess this sector’s contribution to the UK economy and the tax system, to the benefit of all.
The letter reminds both men of commitments they made previously. In 2009, Sajid Javid said, in an article in Conservative Home, that the Conservatives would “repeal the silly IR35 tax on providers of personal services”. Boris Johnson stated at the Conservative Leadership Party hustings in Carlisle in June that the Loan Charge “seemed superficially unjust” and that “there should be an independent review”. Significantly, it has also emerged that Boris Johnson was one of more than 50 MPs who signed a letter to the previous Chancellor of the Exchequer, calling for the Loan Charge to be suspended and reviewed.
The open letter asks both men to stand by their commitments and to restore the trust of contractors and freelancers by doing so. The letter also makes clear that both Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid are aware of the suicides of people facing the Loan Charge and the risk to others.
The joint letter also urges the Prime Minister and Chancellor to commence a proper investigation into HMRC, who have been described as ‘out-of-control’ by the influential House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, chaired by Conservative peer Lord Forsyth of Drumlean.
Commenting, Dave Chaplin, Director of the Stop The Off-Payroll Tax campaign and CEO of ContractorCalculator said:
“The change of Prime Minister and Chancellor must now lead to a change of course over contracting, if the Conservative Government wants to win back the trust of the sector. This means announcing a halt to the damaging Off-Payroll Tax and the unfair Loan Charge.
“Up until now, the Treasury has listened to no-one other than HMRC, who have continually made a misleading case for these ill-considered policies which may suit their aim of ‘maximising revenue’ but have already done and will do huge damage to contracting and British business. We hope now that under new leadership, with Boris Johnson as First Lord of the Treasury and Sajid Javid as Chancellor of the Exchequer, we’ll see a new approach, an end to the war of contracting and a commitment to work with the sector to properly recognise and celebrate the UK’s flexible workforce.”