During the Autumn Statement on 29th November 2011, the Chancellor announced a number of welcome initiatives designed to aid businesses. However, it seems that very little help is being given to contractors, sole traders and micro businesses.
A credit easing scheme which will provide £40 billion of funding for Small and Medium enterprise has been welcomed, along with 50 percent tax relief for investors in new start-ups and an extension of the business rates holiday scheme. A spokesman for the Professional Contractors Group said:
“We did not expect the statement to address core freelance issues, such as the AWR or IR35, so we’re at least pleased with the pro-small business nature of what the chancellor had to say”
The Forum of Private Businesses believes that the government seems to have forgotten the sole traders and other one person businesses. The FPB said:
“(We heard) very little for micro-businesses, which make up the majority of small firms in the UK and require special attention. Given their importance to plans for economic growth, this was an omission.”
The statement did say that a process for “compensated no-fault dismissal” will be looked at for businesses with less than 10 employees. Agency Worker’s Regulations were also mentioned, but only to say that the administrative burden associated to the AWR would be considered in 18 months. The merger of Income tax and National Insurance was further mentioned, which isn’t welcome by all professional bodies. The Freelancer and Contractor Services Association believe that the merger will have a detrimental effect on the flexible workforce of the UK.
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